Dental Tips for Looking Younger
Tried-and-true brushing and flossing can help you hold on to your good looks longer.
Inflammation, Periodontal Disease continued...
"The mouth is one of the major contributors to high levels of inflammation in the body," says Iacopino, who has consulted for Colgate and Johnson & Johnson.
Chronic inflammation is linked to chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease. It's not clear if the inflammation causes those diseases or is a marker of some other cause. But either way, it's not a good sign.
Then there's periodontal disease, which affects 80% of Americans. It's caused by extensive bacterial buildup along the gums and teeth. Periodontal disease is the top cause of tooth loss.
Bacterial buildup, inflammation, tooth decay, and periodontal disease happen quietly and slowly. That's why so many people don't know it's happening.
When done consistently and correctly, brushing and flossing reduce bacteria or plaque buildup. That helps prevent inflammation and gum disease.
Smoking and drinking, particularly red wine and coffee, can stain your teeth and affect how old you look.
Tooth whitening -- over-the-counter and in dentists' offices -- has become increasingly popular in the U.S. and is often marketed as a way to look and feel younger.
Experts say although artificial whitening can temporarily improve a smile, you still need consistent brushing, flossing, and routine dental care to have a lasting impact on how well you age.
Of course, you need to do more than brush, floss, and see your dentist to stay young. Your entire lifestyle matters. "If you want to slow down your aging clock, getting enough sleep, a healthy diet, exercise, and keeping down your levels of inflammation are all key,” Iacopino says.
Hewett agrees. “The fact remains that there are no shortcuts to getting and staying healthy, and oral health is no exception," he says.