Fairport, Pittsford and Rochester, NY
You’d think this would be common sense by now, but taking care of your teeth—a habit that takes five minutes a day—can add years to your life. It reduces the risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, colds, flus and even arthritis! I have preached for years the importance of oral health. In fact, I would dare say that every long-term patient we have at Pittsford Dental Excellence Center is a long-term patient because they believe in our philosophy of practice.
A study, reported in Beat the Heart Attack Gene, coming out of California tracked 5,611 seniors for 17 years and found that:
- Never brushing at night boosted the risk for death during the study period by 20 to 25 percent, compared to brushing every night.
- Never flossing hiked mortality by 30 percent, versus daily flossing.
- Not seeing a dentist in the previous 12 months raised the risk of death by up to 50 percent, compared to getting dental care two or more times a year.
- One major predictor of early death was missing teeth.
Is this shocking to you? I think it should be because it quantifies in concrete terms just what can happen if your home oral health regimen is weak. The good news is that this is highly fixable! It’s not hard to brush nightly. It’s not hard to take up flossing.
One of my patients, we’ll call him Paul, considers his occasional less-than-perfect flossing routine neglecting himself. So, he tells me, every time he feels that he’s slacking off, he feels bad about himself because he takes pride in his physical health—he works out, does cardio, see a chiropractor quarterly and has a massage therapist. That’s motivation enough for me!
When I am not proselytizing on the importance of total body health, I am happy to advise patients on the nuts and bolts of routine care. There’s no shame in admitting it if you are less than perfect. Maybe I can help; I hope so because your total body health is as important to me as your oral health.