Think back to the first time you went to the dentist as a child. What do you remember? Chances are you either loved the experience – the moving chair, the lights, the little prize at the end – or you hated it. Either way, no matter which experience you had, you knew practicing good oral hygiene was important, even if you didn’t always follow the rules to the letter.
Dental health isn’t just important, it’s essential to your health and well being as an older adult. In this post, we’ll explore five minty-fresh reasons for why it can pay off big time to brush and floss regularly in your retirement years. Are you ready? Then open up and say “Ahhh” as we explore the benefits of good oral hygiene.
1. Reduces Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
Believe it or not, our mouths are full of bacteria – some is healthy while others can be bad for us. Brushing and flossing can dramatically reduce the number of bad bacteria in our mouths, which can also help our bodies process insulin more efficiently. Inflammation caused by gum disease can lead to insulin resistance, an impaired response to insulin that results in elevated levels of glucose in the blood.
2. Lessens Your Risk of Heart Attack
Studies show a connection between gum disease and heart disease. People suffering from gum disease often experience bleeding of the gums. When this happens, harmful bacteria in our mouths can more easily enter our bloodstream. If the bacteria reaches the heart, it can trigger a heart attack.
“According to the American College of Cardiology, simply having gum disease can increase your risk of heart attack by up to 50%.” Practicing good oral hygiene can be a powerful weapon to combat heart disease conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.
3. Can Prevent Certain Cancers
The “C” word is scary. Did you know that some cancers can be preventable? It’s important to do your part to reduce the risk of getting cancer. While the direct link is unclear, research shows that poor oral hygiene can increase the risk of some types of cancer that affect the pancreas, lungs or even breasts. The likely cause, again, comes back to that pesky bacteria that likes to take up residency in our mouths and gums. One theory is that the bacteria may increase the development of cancerous cells. It’s just one more reason why we should listen to our dentists when they say to brush, and yes, floss regularly to help maintain our health.
4. Helps to Preserve Your Memory
Did you know that adults who have gingivitis score lower on cognitive skills tests than adults with healthy gums? Both our subtraction skills and our delayed verbal recall skills (the ability to recall verbal information after a period of distraction) have been shown to suffer in those with gingivitis.
5. Keeps Your Gums Healthy and Happy
If you haven’t picked up on the trend by now, it’s all about your gum health! Keep them pink and happy and you’ll have a natural barrier against harmful bacteria in your mouth. When we brush and floss regularly, we drastically reduce the population of harmful bacteria in our mouths. That means less plaque build-up and a decreased risk of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis.
Brush up on Your Dental Health Habits Today
It’s never too late to start practicing good oral hygiene, even in our later years. So, if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, schedule an appointment today. Not only can practicing good oral hygiene give you a healthier mouth, it can give you a healthier you – reducing your risk of potentially serious diseases and even helping to preserve your memory well into your retirement years.
Your Overall Wellness Is Important to Us
At Silver Maples we focus on the seven dimensions of wellness and the balance that is needed to enjoy a truly quality life as you age. Often when the word “wellness” is spoken you think of physical health only, which is one area we’ve touched on above. It’s important however to be mindful of all seven dimensions of wellness (physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental and occupational) in order to enjoy a healthy lifestyle, and a positive aging experience. We offer countless life-enriching opportunities to keep your mind, body and soul as healthy and active as you desire. Our vibrant community culture and beautiful setting offers many cozy senior living options that you’ll quickly settle into. Have we peaked your interest? We invite you to stop by for a visit and see our community for yourself.
If you’re still in the research phase and aren’t quite ready to visit, we encourage you to get to know us from afar by visiting our website. There, you can view our videos and read personal stories and testimonials shared by residents, their families and our staff. You can even request more information to receive our brochure packet full of great information. Or, feel free to connect with us through social media to get a peek at daily life at Silver Maples. Contact us when you’re ready to learn more; we’re eager to discuss options and help you enjoy a lifestyle and support system you and your family will love.