Good Dental Health
Written By: Jerry Gordon
Good dental health can add years to your life.
Most people know that maintaining good dental health into old age has many
benefits. Those most important include comfort of the teeth and gums, the
ability to enjoy food, and a better appearance. Now, a recent study confirms
that good dental health has another important benefit-it can add years your
This new study included 1,929 elderly people living in a large Japanese city.
This group was followed for six years, and their average age was 79.7 years.
In general, those people who had worse dental health at the beginning of the
study had a higher mortality rate after six years than those who were in better
dental health. Specifically, the mortality rate of those without teeth and
did not wear their dentures was nearly twice as high as those with twenty
or more teeth, 63% versus 32% respectively. Researchers point to the impact
on nutrition as the most likely explanation for their findings.
People 65 years of age and older, like younger patients, should see their
dentist at least twice a year for check ups and cleaning of the teeth. All
cavities, gum disease, and other dental infections should be treated. Patients
wearing full or partial dentures should have them evaluated for proper comfort
and fit. Dentures that have been worn for many years may not fit well anymore.
This happens because jawbone under the denture can become worn away over time.
Loose dentures make it difficult to eat, and speak (they seem to make a "clacking"
noise), and do not support the face as well. A loose denture begins to need
more and more adhesive to stay in place. Your dentist can sometimes remedy
the problem by relining the denture, but a new denture should be made about
every 5 to 7 years, or when the denture cannot be used comfortably. In some
case, implants can be used to help secure the denture. This is usually most
needed in the lower jaw, and is sometimes the only way to help the patient
stabilize and use their denture.
Regular dental care and good oral hygiene can add comfort, enjoyment, and
years to your life.