Gum disease is a serious condition that you'll most likely face in your golden years. In fact, as many as 90 percent of men and women over 65 suffer from it. It's also THE main reason why older adults lose their teeth.
But a new study shows there's something--in addition to flossing--that you can and should do to keep your teeth healthy throughout your life. All you have to do is make one simple lifestyle change. Keep reading to find out more...
Rooting out the causes of gum disease
Unfortunately, many of us view gum disease as a minor nuisance. And that's a mistake...because solid evidence links gum disease with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
That said, the disease often starts out benignly enough.
For instance, did you know clenching (or grinding) your teeth--also known as bruxism--could bring on gum disease? According to one dentist I know, it's the biggest problem he sees in new patients visiting his office. And unfortunately, most people don't even realize they do it, often because they do it at night.
Further more, certain types of medication can cause gum disease. For example, many of the drugs used to treat allergies, depression, high blood pressure, seizures, autoimmune disorders, and even cancer might increase your risk of gum disease.
But--by far--the biggest cause of gum disease is bacteria. It builds up along your gum line and forms plaque (and eventually tartar). This irritates the gums, causing them to become infected, swollen, and tender. Eventually, your gums will separate from the tooth and form pockets where even more bacteria are able to hide.
Bacteria in your mouth can also affect your overall health. Mounting research suggests that after brushing or flossing, bacteria may enter your bloodstream. From there, it latches onto plaque in your arteries contributing to blood clots and raising your risk of stroke or heart attack. One recent study conducted at the University of Buffalo showed that bacteria stemming from gum disease cause your liver to make C-reactive protein, a serious risk factor in heart disease.
So what's the simple lifestyle change that can make all this go away?
Just drink a cup of green tea each day.
Now I know most people associate drinking green tea with fighting cancer. But according to the new study, drinking green tea can also help improve your oral health. It could even make the difference between whether or not you get to keep all your teeth in your golden years.
You see, green tea is one of the world's oldest natural antibiotics. In fact, it contains a special kind of antioxidant called a catechin, which kills bacteria, especially the kind of bacteria in the mouth.
In fact, last year scientists proved just how well these nutrients work at keeping your mouth a bacteria-free zone. They found that men who regularly drink green tea have "superior" gum health compared to men who drank less of it.
Plus, an even newer study from last month proves that not only does green tea help prevent gum disease...it may even help you keep your teeth throughout your life!
For this study, Japanese scientists analyzed data from 25,000 men and women between the ages 40 and 64 who drank green tea. They found that men and women who drank one to two cups a day decrease their risk of tooth loss by almost 20 percent. More over, the men who drank the most green tea cut their risk of tooth loss by almost a quarter.
Not bad results for drinking a cup of tea. Especially for one that's good for you in so many other ways too!
Be careful to choose your tea wisely
So when you go out to buy yourself some green tea, just make sure to skip the sweetened, ready-to-drink green teas you'll find on the shelves. These products contain little, if any, concentrated green tea. Instead, it's filled with high- fructose corn syrup and provides no nutritional value.
In order to get the kind of green tea that has all the healthy benefits, buy a box of green tea bags and steep them yourself. Let the bags sit in the hot water for at least four to five minutes to release all the healthy compounds. And if you like to drink it cold, just keep it in the fridge after steeping.
And if you like your tea sweet, you can always add a few drops of Stevia, a natural sweetener you can now find at most grocery stores. Stevia has become a great alternative to sugar as well as all the artificial sweeteners out there without all the negative health effects. Just don't go crazy as it can still send your blood sugar through the roof if you add enough of it to your tea.