Lifestyle Factors That Can Impact Periodontal Health

Lifestyle is a term to describe the way a person lives, which was originally coined by Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler in 1929. The current broader sense of the word dates from 1961. A set of behaviors, and the senses of self and belonging which these behaviors represent, are collectively used to define a given lifestyle. The term is defined more broadly when used in politics, marketing, and publishing.
 
A lifestyle is a characteristic bundle of behaviors that makes sense to both others and oneself in a given time and place, including social relations, consumption, entertainment, and dress. The behaviors and practices within lifestyles are a mixture of habits, conventional ways of doing things, and reasoned actions.
 
A lifestyle typically also reflects an individual's attitudes, values or worldview. Therefore, a lifestyle is a means of forging a sense of self and to create cultural symbols that resonate with personal identity. Not all aspects of a lifestyle are entirely voluntaristic. Surrounding social and technical systems can constrain the lifestyle choices available to the individual and the symbols she/he is able to project to others and the self.
 
There are many lifestyle factors that can impact a person's health, such as nutrition, amount of sleep, mental stress, tobacco use, and exercise. A study in the May issue of the Journal of Periodontology identifies lifestyle factors that have the most impact on periodontal health. 
 
The study followed a group of 219 factory workers in Japan from 1999 to 2003 in an attempt to evaluate the effect of different lifestyle factors on the progression of periodontal diseases. Each worker was evaluated on a list of the following lifestyle factors: physical exercise, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, hours of sleep, nutritional balance, mental stress, hours worked and eating breakfast. The study found that the number one lifestyle factor that independently impacted the progression of periodontal disease was smoking; hours of sleep closely followed. Over 41% of study participants who showed periodontal disease progression from 1999 to 2003 were current smokers. In addition, lack of sleep was identified as a significant lifestyle factor that may play a role in the progression of periodontal disease. The participants who received seven to eight hours of sleep exhibited less periodontal disease progression than those who received six hours of sleep or less. High stress levels and daily alcohol consumption also demonstrated a significant impact on periodontal disease progression. 
 
"This study points out to patients that there are lifestyle factors other than brushing and flossing that may affect their oral health. Simple lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep, may help patients improve or protect their oral health," explained Preston D. Miller, Jr., DDS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology. "It is also important to keep these in mind as the body of evidence linking oral disease with systemic diseases continues to grow because ultimately these lifestyle factors might impact a patient's overall health." 
 
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