Can good oral health help you live longer?
That’s a good question! We think most people want the life they live to be a good one. Whether you love spending time with family and friends, or doing the activities you enjoy, the healthier you are the more you’ll be able to participate actively in your life.
That’s where your dentist comes in. A general dentist (or family dentist to some people), helps you protect your general health by looking after your oral health through services such as:
- Regular dental hygiene care and dental check-ups
- Root canal treatment
- Gum disease treatment
- Damaged tooth repair – ones that are broken, cracked or decayed
- Missing tooth replacement – with dentures or dental implants
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The connection between your oral health and your general health
Oral systemic health
Recent studies suggest there is a relationship between your oral health and your overall health. Some people call this relationship “oral systemic health”. What does it mean?
Plaque and tartar that build up on teeth can lead to periodontal, or gum disease. The bacteria and inflammation that comes with gum disease can enter your bloodstream via your lungs or blood. Once it is in your circulatory or respiratory system, it can create or contribute to general health problems.
How common is gum disease? VERY, according to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA). In fact 7 out of every 10 Canadians will develop gum disease at some point in their lives. That’s why it’s so important to schedule regular dental hygiene appointments. Your mouth and teeth are full of nooks and crannies that are almost impossible to clean on your own, no matter how diligently you brush and floss. Your dental hygienist has the tools, tricks and training to clean all those hard to reach spots that can help you keep gum disease at bay.
According to the CDA, 3,400 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in Canada every year. In fact, the number of new oral cancer cases and deaths is higher than those of cervical or liver cancer, while survival rates are lower than those for prostate, melanoma or cervical cancers. The good news is these statistics don’t need to be scary. As you perform your daily tooth brushing and flossing, check the inside of your mouth for:
- Sores that don’t heal
- Dark red or white patches
- Lumps on your lips or tongue
If you notice any of these warning signs, be sure to ask you dentist to screen for oral cancer.
Enhance your health
Healthy eating, regular exercise, a solid support network of friends and family, and a smart balance between work and leisure can all contribute to a longer, healthier life. What’s missing in this list? Oral health care. While the connection is getting stronger, many people don’t realize just how much their oral health contributes to their general health.
Once you make the connection and put your oral health needs on par with your overall health, we think the answer to our question is YES. Good oral health in conjunction with good overall health can help you live longer.
Get the most out of your life
Don’t let poor oral health or lack of dental care rob you of the vitality you need to live life to it’s fullest. Having dental exams and professional cleanings twice a year, along with keeping on top of decay, missing teeth and other dental issues can help you:
- keep your mouth free of disease
- protect you against painful TMJ symptoms
- keep you looking and feeling your best