Brush or die: Adult tooth loss linked to early death
03/19/2019 // Amy Goodrich // Views

Brushing your teeth is not just for a fresh breath or gorgeous smile. According to a study published in the journal Periodontology 2000, the number of teeth we lose can be a key indicator of a person’s life expectancy. The researchers found clear evidence that tooth loss is closely related to some life-threatening health concerns.

Many factors -- such as stress, socioeconomic status, oral hygiene practices, smoking, trauma, chronic disease, genetic conditions, nutritional intake, and lifestyle choices, contribute to tooth loss. As stated by the Oral Health Foundation, physical stress and poor health often manifest early in the mouth.

What are your teeth telling you?

Research data showed that those who have lost five teeth or more by the age of 65 have a heightened risk of early death. Also, these individuals were more likely to suffer from serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Conversely, those who have a full set of teeth by the age of 74 were more likely to become 100 years old.

Speaking on the issue, Dr. Nigel Carter, of the Oral Health Foundation, said that there are many reasons why we lose our teeth. He added that this research paper suggests that tooth loss is not only due to trauma, smoking, or a continued poor oral health routine. He pointed out that tooth loss can often be a signifier of a person’s poor quality of life. Hence the higher likelihood of gum diseases or other health issues that contribute to an increased risk of life-threatening conditions.

“It is very evident that what is going on in our mouths can really be a useful window to our overall health. It is therefore vital that we take proper care of our mouth and pay close attention to what is happening as it could be a sign of something more serious,” Dr. Nigel Carter said.


Last year, a group of scientists in the U.S. conducted a trial to see if a particular toothpaste, which highlighted plaque on the teeth, could improve heart health. The toothpaste was found to reduce both dental plaque and inflammation through the body. Inflammation levels were accurately measured by high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), a sensitive marker for cardiovascular diseases which may result in a fatal heart attack or stroke.

The authors of the study found that people using the special toothpaste were able to remove twice as much plaque while reducing their levels of inflammation by 29 percent. While previous studies have shown that people with infected gums are more likely to suffer cardiovascular diseases, it had never been shown that good dental health could lower the risk.

Improve oral health and add years to your life

If you want to add years to your life and prevent issues with eating or communicating, it is important to keep those pearls as healthy and shiny as possible. Now, the Oral Health Foundation is urging people to take better care of their mouth and visit their dentist regularly. Next to cutting down on sugary foods and drinks, it is also recommended to brush your teeth with fluoride and triclosan-free toothpaste morning and night.

Or why not add coconut oil pulling to your daily dental care routine? Swishing coconut oil around your mouth for a few minutes each day can significantly transform your oral health and longevity. This age-old Ayurvedic practice has been used for thousands of years to pull toxins and harmful bacteria from gum tissue and teeth.

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