What does brushing your teeth have to do with medical alert systems?
Seems like a bit of a stretch, doesn’t it? Well, there’s a new sheriff in town, and he can explain it all — integrative health.
Okay, so maybe it’s not a new concept, but it’s one that is fairly novel to our modern medical system.
If you’re having trouble with your heart, you would schedule an appointment with a cardiologist. If arthritis is rearing its ugly head, you’ll probably be referred to a rheumatologist. And if you have sensitive, sore gums, you’d be remiss not to schedule an appointment with your dentist.
Well, integrative health takes a whole-body approach. This version of medicine understands that your arthritis, your heart problems, and your dental problems are all pieces of a bigger puzzle, and by putting that puzzle together, professionals can discover treatments that may otherwise go overlooked by a specialist.
They do this because they understand that everything in the body is affected by everything else. That means your oral health is connected to your overall health, which can greatly impact whether or not you’re able to remain independent in your home.
Let me explain exactly what I mean.
Gum disease is the leading cause of lost teeth in adults. It is common among the elderly, not only because many adults put off regular appointments to their dentist, but because poor-fitting false teeth can exacerbate the problem.
However, gum disease does more than just take your teeth. It is linked to other diseases like heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. If you have gum disease, you’re twice as likely as those without the disease to die from a heart attack. You’re three times as likely to have a stroke. That’s serious stuff.
Oral cancer doesn’t get the same attention as other cancers, but it’s an important one. Did you know that it is seven times more likely to develop in seniors over the age of 65? Did you know it leads to more deaths than skin cancer in this demographic? Smoking and other tobacco use exacerbate the problem, but not taking care of your teeth can make it worse.
A worsening diet
Although not quite as serious as heart disease and cancer, bad oral hygiene can cause your diet to worsen. If it’s painful to chew, or if you’ve lost your teeth and struggle to chew at all, you may find yourself eating less, or eating foods that aren’t so good for you. After all, eating ice cream is always going to be easier to eat than an apple.
But, it’s your diet that keeps you active, alert, and strong. Without the right nutrients in your diet, you’ll become lethargic and weak, which puts you more at risk of experiencing a fall.
Here at InHomeSafetyGuide, we’re familiar with the statistics, and you probably are too, if you’ve been with us for a while. Without going into all the numbers again, just understand that your independence is likely to end when you experience a fall in the home, especially if you experience a fall and don’t get help right away.
Take care of your teeth
So, do yourself a favor and take care of your teeth. It’s never too late. The earlier you take care of the problem, the more likely you are to sustain your overall health.
Plus, your independence is counting on it.