How to Live to Age 100
Most people don’t believe it, but it’s absolutely true. It’s medically and scientifically proven. And, it does make a huge difference. So, here’s how to live to age 100, or at least, one important thing you can do to help you make it to age 100. And, in addition, increase your chances to make it to age 100 with a clear mind. No Alzheimer’s. No dementia. Really? Yes, really.
One of Our Website’s Fans Pointed Out…
In a previous version of this page we had a comment about the proximity of the mouth and teeth to the brain. A regular reader pointed out that the brain and mouth being close to each other is probably not that important. The inflammation signals against food bits and bacteria in the mouth would travel to the brain though the blood stream. Poor dental hygiene can cause cancer and heart and blood vessel problems in parts of the body distant from the mouth. While we mostly agree, it’s also true that there are many connecting channels like nerves, blood vessels, and lymph vessels in the mouth, face, head, and brain area. The nearby location could make a difference.
Floss and Brush Your Teeth at Least Twice a Day
Yes, really, this is not a joke. Good dental hygiene. (Hygiene is taking care of your health before you get sick.) And, it has to be twice a day at least (more on this below). Once every 24 hours is not enough. And you can’t just brush, you also have to floss your teeth. And lightly brush the top of your tongue with your toothbrush. Stop the old “coated tongue” problem.
How Can That Be? Live to 100 by Good Dental Hygiene?
This information is actually not new, and comes from many sources over decades. People with gum disease are much more likely to get Alzheimer’s dementia. One article posted by the UK’s National Health Service says that people with chronic gum disease are have a 70% higher chance of getting Alzheimer’s that people with healthy gums and teeth.
That Doesn’t Make Sense
Well, actually, it does make sense. Here’s why. Gum disease, tooth decay, bad breath, all involve inflamed tissue. Inflammation. Bacteria eating and growing on all the food bits and sugar left on your mouth and on your teeth. And the immune system goes into high gear to fight and kill those bad breath bacteria. The immune response is involved in causing Alzheimer’s (and cancer and heart disease). The immune system signal molecules get into your blood stream and go everywhere. Once in your blood it’s a short hop to your brain. That high-gear immune response in your mouth can easily change your brain.
There Is a Catch About How to Live to Age 100
Good grief, there’s always a catch! Dental hygiene. Hygiene is what you do to preserve health. That is, hygiene is prevention. So, here’s the catch. You have to start young and practice the good dental hygiene daily for decades. So that twice a day of both brushing and flossing, and brushing your tongue, has to start as soon as you read this and continue twice a day for the rest of your life.
But It is True – How to Live to Age 100 Is About Brushing Your Teeth
Lower you chance of dementia, cancer, and heart and blood vessel disease just by practicing good dental hygiene.
But, Come On, Do We Really Need to Brush Twice a Day?
Yes. After you eat, little leftover bits of food stay in your mouth. This helps the bacteria in your mouth form a sticky gunk. Because it’s sticky it sticks to your teeth. So you have bacteria stuck to your teeth, held there by this sticky film. As the bacteria eat and digest the bits of food they release an acid. This acid in the sticky film dissolves the enamel in your teeth. Dissolving enamel is called tooth decay. If the sticky plaque is left on your teeth and gums too long (more than about 12 hours) it hardens. This hardened plaque is called tarter. Tarter is a yellow color and it’s too tough to be brushed away. It takes about a day for plaque to become tarter. By brushing twice a day you get rid of the plaque while it’s still soft, before it turns to tarter.
Okay, Fine, But Why Floss Twice a Day?
Brushing gets rid of the sticky, gunky plaque on your teeth. Or, at least, the part of each tooth that is above the gum line. There’s more of each of your teeth below the gum. Your toothbrush can’t reach below the gumline. The floss slides down the sides of your teeth to below the gum, getting the gunk off down there before it hardens into tarter. Once it solidifies into hard, yellow tarter, it’s too hard for flossing to scrape off.
Okay, Okay. But Why Brush Your Tongue? That Sounds Icky
Taking your toothbrush after you brush your teeth and brushing it a few times across the top you your tongue gets rid of a huge number of bacteria. Fewer bacteria means less sticky, gunky plaque and less chance for plaque to turn to hard, yellow tarter on your teeth. It also means fewer bacteria to cause bad breath. After you brush your tongue, rinse you mouth really well with water and, swish, away go the tons of bacteria.
The National Institute on Aging on Large Study Links Gum Disease to Dementia
United Kingdom National Health Service on Gum disease linked to Alzheimer’s
University of Central Lancaster on Poor dental health leading to Alzheimer’s
The Cleveland Clinic on Oral Health and Cardiovascular Disease
Express Dentist on Improving Oral Health for Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease
If you’re one of those people who likes to go crazy with dental care…
Here are a couple of oddball tips.
There is a school of dental thought that says that your toothbrush should be clean and dry before you wet it and brush your teeth. To fully dry usually takes about 24 hours, and you brush your teeth twice a day. So, we would do best to have 2 toothbrushes, a morning toothbrush and an evening toothbrush. That way each of the toothbrushes will have 24 hours to dry before it is used again.
Brushing Your Tongue
As we mentioned above, it’s good to lightly brush the top of your tongue with your toothbrush twice a day when you brush your teeth. A smaller toothbrush head is usually better for brushing your teeth so it can get down into all the little places around and between your teeth. But it’s hard to brush a tongue with a small-headed toothbrush. So maybe we should each have 4 toothbrushes, 2 with smaller heads for your teeth and 2 with larger heads just to brush your tongue quickly and lightly.