CENTENARIANS TOP TOOTH RETENTION

A new survey, carried out in the U.S. shows that those who live to be 100 years of age have more of their own teeth than those who were born at the same time but who died younger.

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A new survey, carried out in the U.S. shows that those who live to be 100 years of age have more of their own teeth than those who were born at the same time but who died younger.

It points to the realisation that what happens in one part of the your body can affect the whole body. A number of studies are showing correlations and causation between pathogens in the mouth and increased likelihood of heart attack and diabetes. There may even be a link with dementia too.

Researchers from the American Geriatric Association compared a number of people who were born around 1900 and found that 46% of those who died between the ages of 65-71 had lost all their own teeth. This was compared with just 36% of those who would go on to reach 100 years of age.

Getting older there are a number of factors that makes looking after your teeth and gums more difficult the Association pointed out.

The increase in prescription drugs for other health problems can lead to side effects such as having a poor level of saliva production, a condition known as dry mouth. Saliva helps with remineralisation of the teeth as well as being an effective antiseptic. So people with dry mouth can develop severe gum disease as a result.

A lack of dexterity can also mean that using a tooth brush or inter-dental brushes and floss becomes problematical too.

However both these can be remedied by either talking with the GP to change medication or by simply chewing sugar free gum to promote saliva production. Electric toothbrushes and air flossers can also be used for those who find working with their manual counterparts troublesome.

Of course it is no guarantee that any of us with a good oral health routine will celebrate our 100th birthday; but as well as keeping our own teeth increasing evidence does show that we are maximising our chances of living healthier for longer.