Ayyyy! 2015 is drawing to a close. That Learning Guy is back, and now I’m bringing some wonderful information forward for all of you learned scholars out there. I’ve been contemplating what to do next. I know the holidays are here, and with them comes ravenous shopping, all the way from Thanksgiving through to after the new year (gotta get those post-Christmas prices). Obviously – being the aloof individual I am – I do my level best to avoid getting sucked into the materialistic, hallmark holiday Christmas has become, but alas, even Learning Guy has to get gifts for some people (like wedding bands for That Learning Gal and myself). However, there is one thing he never forgets – to try and stay as healthy as possible. ‘Tis the time when Americans gather round the (possibly) originally pagan, Christmas tree, drink, be merry, and consume vast quantities of unhealthy food.
Although the Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Years holidays may be known as some of the most family oriented – and wholesome – days of the year, we tend to treat our bodies like crap around these times as well, stuffing them full of oils, fats, and carbs – a whopping 7,000 calories on Christmas alone! I’m sure many of you realized this before now, but maybe not really on a conscious level, and if you did, then shame on you! You were able to break free of the trance all of the festivities try to put you under, and you still give in, but don’t worry, my lost friend. That Learning Guy understands completely, as even he gives in to temptation every now and then (damn you, mom’s homemade chicken and noodles and layer salad!).
So, in light of this information, I have decided to start a series of posts on health, and what bad habits and lack of healthy thinking can do to harm you physically; oh! And your wallet of course!
Yup, we’re starting off with a fun one, my friends. From brushing that maroon cranberry sauce off of your scummy teeth, to plucking lumps of turkey from between your teeth with a floss-pick, to drinking enough water. These are all things people will do these holidays (well…at least some people, and hopefully not just when some turkey gets stuck between their teeth). However, performing these rather habitual and inane acts can have surprising net benefits for our health. The following is a list of benefits from good hygiene.
- Lesser inflammation of connective tissue and bone surrounding teeth – precursor to Periodontitis.
- Inflammation of connective tissue and bone surrounding teeth
- A hole in a tooth, a cavity, if you will (well…if you don’t know what a cavity is, then I’m not sure there is much hope for you here).
- Dental Trauma, including, but not limited to:
- A tooth which has been loosened, but not yet shifted or lost
- Oral Cysts
All of the above diseases/symptoms/conditions can actually lead to loss of teeth, infection, or god forbid something even worse. Just performing what the American Dental Association recommends (brushing twice a day and flossing once), can prevent many, if not all of the above mentioned diseases. Being proactive can nearly prevent them 100%. Obviously things like genetics and age play into the pot here, but you put in the time every day, you get the reward and peace of mind. If that isn’t enough for you, let’s go into a little detail regarding the financial incentives of keeping your teeth clean. Looking here, you can break things down and see a pretty solid summation of costs of various dental implant procedures, or you can see the charts below:
Well, as you can see, losing teeth due to poor dental hygiene can be a pretty unfortunate thing. However, having to replace those teeth to not look like you’re addicted to crack could financially ruin you if your problem is bad enough, or if you are not lucky enough to have insurance. That is clearly the worst case scenario. What if you have cavities? Well, those will run you between $110-$240 per filling. If you’re lucky, the cavity will last you 12 years. If you’re not. It might last you 5. If you had to replace that same filling over 50 years, that could add up to as much as $2400(!) and that is just 1 tooth. Not to bash on my parents, but I can tell you they have at least 10 fillings each. No idea how many times they have had them replaced, but it would be an interesting thing to figure out.
The Cost in the Long Run
Now, here is the fun part. You guessed it! Continuous compounding interest time:
Let’s say you get worst case scenario up in here – Oh dear lord in heaven, you need 6 dental implants with a dental bridge after forgetting to brush your teeth for two years. That is:
$30k which could have been invested in stocks at 7% return over 10 years…what you missed out on:
or an extra 30,412.60 on top of that original 30,000 dollar investment.
Good lord. Brush and floss those teeth, pups, for who could have known that keeping your teeth clean could potentially lead to such treasures?
-That Learning Guy