Healthy Teeth, Healthy Brain? Insights from a Dentist in Belchertown
February 15, 2019
We already know that brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist in Belchertown can help you to enjoy better teeth and gums. But recent research says these habits may also reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s. This gives all of us added incentive to safeguard our oral health. The benefits may be greater than anyone previously imagined.
New Thoughts on an Old Enemy
Alzheimer’s is probably as old as humanity itself. But it took until 1906 to recognize it as a distinct disorder. Since then, science has been struggling for a way to treat this dread condition, which afflicts almost six million Americans.
For years, researchers though that the key to a cure lay in treating the plaques that typically build up in the brains of Alzheimer’s victims. Recently however, a different theory came to light. Scientists discovered that the bacteria behind gum disease is present in more than 90% of Alzheimer’s patients. This is a powerful indicator that those germs are in fact the true cause of the disease.
If this line of reasoning proves true, then it may lead to breakthrough advances in Alzheimer’s therapy. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, here are some things all of us can do to enjoy not only healthier teeth but a better quality of life overall:
- Follow the “2×2” rule when it comes to brushing: Brush 2-3 times a day for at least two full minutes per session. One of the biggest mistakes many of us make is rushing through the task instead of taking the time to do it right.
- Floss or use an interdental toothbrush daily: This is an important supplemental step to brushing. Floss string comes in both waxed and unwaxed versions as well as a variety of widths. You can also use a water stream flossing device instead.
- Eat with your teeth and gums in mind: this means more than simply avoiding sugar – as important as that is.It also means eating plenty of the right foods, ones which contain key nutrients like protein, healthy unsaturated fats, complex carbs, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Your body needs these things in order to keep your teeth strong and healthy.
- Banish tobacco and vaping products from your life: this includes not only cigarettes but chewing tobacco, cigars, etc. Not only is nicotine disastrous for your overall health, it erodes tooth enamel, making cavities more likely. Your dentist can recommend new medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms.
- Get up and get moving: studies show that any form of regular physical activity does a body good, including gardening or housekeeping. Remember to check with your healthcare professional before start any exercise program.
We used to think that the well-being of one part of the body was unrelated to the rest; now we know better. The time and effort you invest in caring for your teeth and gums can benefit you in ways you might never have imagined. So give it your best shot, then remember to congratulate yourself for a job well done.
About the Author
Dr. Mark D. Medaugh comes from a family of healthcare professionals. Known affectionately to his patients as “Dr. M,” he is well-versed in multiple aspects of quality dental care, including cosmetic and restorative techniques. You can reach his office online or by calling (413) 323-4335.
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