By Dr. Scott Thompson, DDS, Winning With Smiles
It doesn't take rocket science or super intelligence to figure out that teeth are important to quality of life. Eating some delicious bar-b-cue or a sumptuous crisp mixed green salad requires some stable teeth. When residents of elder care facilities are polled to rate the value of having back something they have lost since their younger years, having their teeth back invariably is at the top of the list.
Are you aware that 28% of those over 50 years old have no teeth? Of those who still have teeth, The average number left is 19; that is 9 less than when they were in high school! Imagine eating with 9 gaps for missing teeth.
Yet Americans continue to make life style choices that put their health at risk. Diabetes rates are skyrocketing in our youth. Diabetes, which was primarily associated with the elderly, accounts for 18% of the tooth loss problem in those over 50. Why is it that people continue to eat simple carbohydrates (sugars) even when they know it is bad for them?
Addiction. "Doing something and continuing to do it even though we know it is bad for us" is the definition of addiction. What has been known in the scientific world over 40 years is that sugar is addictive, every bit as addictive as cocaine and other street drugs. The evidence of it and the magnitude of its consequences has finally driven this knowledge to the surface and it is being acknowledged. In the face of the rising epidemic of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other maladies in our population, especially our youth, the contribution of sugar is being acknowledged.
Making choices early in life for the eating habits of your children will have enormous rewards for them when they are elderly and still enjoying all their food choices.