I’m Worried That I’m Losing It
Usually, we talk about lost crowns or teeth, but today I will go far afield from those topics. I want to discuss aging and specifically doing so positively and healthily.
Just this week, I read an article in a magazine called “The Guardian.” It was written by their science editor, who reported on a recent study addressing the subject of aging.
The study was done by the University of California in San Francisco and the University of British Columbia. Specifically, it looked at the effect of exercise as we age. The conclusion was quite emphatic. Those who exercised late in life showed a reduced chance of developing dementia.
This subject is near and dear to my heart as my wife suffered from Alzheimer’s, and the effects were devastating. The takeaway is that it is never too late to start.
The article went on to describe life-changing activities to make as we get older. The changes were based on various population studies that showed the benefit of altering what we have been doing in the past or continuing those habits that appear to be most beneficial.
I want to spend the rest of this column reviewing what I learned from that article.
Four Activities to Embrace That Fosters Healthy Aging
The first one, as I mentioned, is an emphasis on exercise. Exercise does not have to be many sweaty hours a day. Let me make it simpler. Everyone needs to move during the day. That could be as simple as walking or as complicated as training for a 5K walk or run. Aerobic exercise, in combination with strength training, seems essential to slowing down or preventing dementia. As things age and get stiff, I would add some flexibility exercises to reduce the aches and pains.
2. Fix your hearing:
Brain scans show a correlation between brain shrinkage and hearing loss. When I think about that fact, it is almost intuitive. When we do not hear what is happening around us, we isolate ourselves in our world. Social isolation is another factor in developing cognitive problems, and hearing loss creates our isolation.
3. Exercise your brain:
Staying mentally active with problem-solving, figuring out what is wrong with something, or learning a new language are all good activities. This could be an opportunity to learn how to use a computer or smartphone rather than saying it is too complicated for me.
4. Oral Hygiene
As you probably figured out, this subject first caught my eye. Studies have shown that gum disease and other mouth infections are associated with an increase in Alzheimer’s Disease. The mechanism is unclear, and more research is needed in this field. Good brushing and flossing and routine cleanings are essential to maintaining a healthy mouth.
We’re Your Dental Partner for Healthy Aging
From the day that we are born, the aging process begins. How you travel this road is not always in our control. That being said, living life to the fullest by making positive choices is essential for a long and enjoyable life.
Oral health is part and parcel of healthy aging, living well and enjoyably. I suggest that you call Joyce at 440.892.1810 and schedule an appointment to make sure that you stay on track for your oral health. As always, I look forward to meeting you.
Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.