Can healthy lifestyle habits also promote dental health? More specifically, can a combination of regular exercise, weight control, and a healthy diet prevent gum disease? Gum disease is the inflammation of the gums and the bone around the teeth, caused by overload of bacteria under the gums. According to the American Dental Association, it is the #1 reason for tooth loss in the US.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University posed that question in a study and came up with some surprising answers.1 The study collected data on more that 12,000 subjects who participated in the third US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. For each subject, three “health-enhancing” behaviors were assessed:
When the data were compared to the incidence of gum disease nationwide, the results showed that gum disease:
Was reduced by 16% in people who engaged in one of the above health-enhancing behaviors
Was reduced by 29% in people who engaged in any two behaviors
Was reduced by 40% reduction in those people who engaged in all three behaviors
There is a multitude of factors explaining why the researchers found these results, but nevertheless, it seems that leading a healthy life style is also good for your teeth and gums.
[Ed. note:Dr. Joseph R. Simaie is an implant and restorative dentist, in Beverly Hills, CA. In addition to restoring smiles, his office is on the forefront of practicing preventive dentistry. Dr. Simaie is an assistant clinical professor at University of Southern California School of Dentistry, and also serves on several dental boards.]
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