Does Loss of Teeth Shorten Your Life?

The importance of oral hygiene and its role in the overall health of a person cannot be overstated. We’re all guilty of delaying a visit to the dentist at some point in our life, but untreated dental problems such as cavities and periodontal diseases can weaken the gums and teeth over time, eventually leading to tooth loss.

It is a known fact that having a missing tooth can significantly compromise the quality of life of an individual, but recent studies have suggested that poor oral health and loss of teeth could also be linked to life expectancy of an individual.

Tooth Loss and Shortened Longevity:

In a recent review article by Friedman and Lamster published in Periodontology 2000, it was proposed that tooth loss could be used as a predictor for life expectancy of individuals.  The research indicates that senior citizens who have a full set of teeth by the time they reach 74 are likely to live up to 100 years.

This could be because of the fact that having dental problems and tooth loss often becomes the root of serious health issues.

Here’s a list of some of the health problems that can arise due to poor dental health and tooth loss which could affect a person’s lifespan:

1. Gastrointestinal Disorders:

Deficient chewing performance can lead to a reduced consumption of fruits, vegetables and high fiber foods. This in turn could cause stomach and intestinal problems in a patient. 28% of the 367 denture wearers participating in a study were found to be taking medication for gastrointestinal disorders.

Compromised dental function also have poor swallowing practices, which could be the reason why life expectancy of such individuals is reduced.

2. Cardiovascular Diseases:

Periodontal diseases cause inflammation in gums. These inflamed gums are home to bacteria, which can enter your bloodstream and easily travel to your heart through the arteries.

As a result, plaque begins to develop on the inner walls of these arteries. This medical condition is also known as Atherosclerosis and significantly increases chances of a stroke or heart attack in its patients

3. Respiratory Infections:

Bacteria carried by infected teeth can find its way into your lungs when you breathe. This creates the possibility of respiratory infections such pneumonia or acute bronchitis. In rare cases, it can also lead to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

So, the next time you feel a sharp pain in your teeth as you munch on your favorite granola bar or take a sip from your piping hot cappuccino, it’s probably best to book an appointment with your dentist to get it checked.

If you’re in New City, you may take your family for a routine dental checkup at New City Family Dental, where our team of world class dentists will assist you and your family with all your general and cosmetic dental work.