3 reasons why it’s important to take care of your teeth


If you’ve lost teeth, you’re not alone. By age 50, most Americans have lost 12 teeth, including wisdom teeth, due to injury, smoking, gum disease or tooth decay. Tooth loss can affect your bite, smile, facial structure, overall health, and lifespan. Here are three reasons why it’s important to take care of your teeth:

  1. Increases life expectancyResearch shows that people who have all their teeth at age 74 have a greater chance of reaching age 100. Those who have lost five teeth by age 65 are at higher risk of premature death.

  2. Promotes quality of life – People who have lost teeth can experience bite misalignment that creates problems when eating or pronouncing words clearly. So often those with missing teeth smile only with their lips or avoid talking with people in small group conversations.

  3. Reduces health problems – Missing teeth may be an indication of oral health problems that can create other medical issues, such as rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and oral cancers, which can limit life expectancy.

    • Nearly 66 percent of American adults age 60 and older have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, a bacterial infection in the soft tissue and bone around the teeth.

    • Older women with periodontal disease have a 12 percent higher chance of premature death; tooth loss is responsible for a 17 percent higher chance of death.

    • Researchers are working on a new vaccine that targets gingivitis and periodontitis gum disease.

Improve your life expectancy

Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time, floss once each day and schedule regular dental appointments for checkups and cleanings. If you experience oral pain, don’t put it off. Contact your dentist immediately for assistance. You’ll be glad you did.


Oral Health Foundation

Harvard Health Publishing

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