The correlation between a healthy lifestyle and strong teeth

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Millennials are neglecting basic oral health, which could lead to an increase in overall health problems

Food is an ever-present reality of life, whether earning for it, cooking it or eating it. Food is, in fact, the very essence of a person. As French lawyer and politician, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, said, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.

Each generation leaves its own defining characteristics on the kind of food consumed and the   way it is consumed. The Millennial generation is one which has made an indelible mark on many aspects of day-to-day living, specifically because of the influence of the Internet and smartphones on their lives.

Americans in general are not known to be healthy eaters.  Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that only 13% of Americans adhered to federal dietary recommendations of one and a half to two cups of fruit daily.  What is worse, less than 9% of Americans eat the recommended daily quantity of vegetables of two to three cups. Even California, the state that reflected the highest number of healthy eaters, still is significantly behind in the number of people who eat healthy – almost 18% of Californians eat the required quantity of fruit and 13% eat enough vegetables.

However, the trend has begun to change with the healthy eating habits of Millennials and Gen Z.  According to studies by the American market research company, the NPD Group, indicate that   people younger than 40 years are eating 52% more fresh vegetables and 59% more frozen vegetables compared to ten years earlier. Vice President at NPD and food consumption industry analyst, David Portalatin, said it appears that Millennials and younger generations are “turning back the clock” when it comes to the food they eat.

Millennials have fashioned their consumption patterns to ensure sustainability. This extends also to the food they eat. “Healthy” food to Millennials is not high fiber or low fat, but food that is natural, organic, locally sourced or sustainable.

Arguably, Millennials are the generation living the healthiest lifestyle in contemporary times. And, it logically follows that eating healthy food should ensure great dental health. However, it is surprisingly not so. It appears that Millennials are atrocious at following good dental habits. New research shows that 3 in 10 Millennials brush their teeth only once a day. Study results also showed that the average Millennial could recount instances where they had gone over two days without brushing their teeth even once. While being so shockingly negligent, 56% of them are worried about losing their teeth early because of bad oral health.

Added to their substandard dental habits, studies show that Millennials are more likely than other age groups of American adults, to be scared of visiting dental clinics. 62% of American adults are recorded as being afraid of visiting a dentist. Some Millennials refuse to visit a dentist because they dislike the taste of dental products. But many are scared of the formidable looking equipment, the noise of drilling and pain, also anticipated pain. A recent survey shows that Millennials are more likely to have made excuses not to visit a dentist (50%) than older generations (36%).

Even though Millennials  are the largest generation today, the American Dental Association finds that only 30% of Millennials visit a dentist annually.  Recent studies show that 35% of Millennials have problems in chewing and biting, while tooth pain is a common complaint. Furthermore, 38% of them have various oral problems like bad breath, which make life less pleasant.

Despite this, Millennials prefer to browse their smartphones and look up information to visiting a dentist. They search information on various conditions and sometimes under-estimate the gravity of what ails them or come to wrong conclusions about the state of their oral health. They undermine the strong links between oral health and overall health, as professional dental clinics like  Macleod Trail Dental are able to show.

Dental expertise shows that visiting a dentist has many advantages aside from having “pearly whites and bad breath prevention.”  As the spokesman for the Academic of General Dentistry said, Dr Raymond Martin, said, “More than 90% of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations, meaning that your dentist could be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem.”

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