The founder of Green Dentistry in San Franciso, Dr. Nammy Patel sits down with John Maher to talk about the importance of healthy teeth and gums. She explains how oral health affects longevity and provides you with tips on how to break bad habits and improve your oral health.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health and author of the best-selling book Age with Style, A Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living. Today our topic is healthy teeth and gums. Welcome Dr. Nammy.

Dr. Nammy Patel: Hi John I’m so excited to talk about healthy teeth and gums today, they’re so important.

The Importance of Healthy Teeth and Gums

John: Tell us a little bit more about that. Why is having healthy teeth and gums so important?

Dr. Nammy: The main reason for making sure to have healthy teeth and gums is that they actually add an extra 10 years to your life. Science has proven that people who keep their teeth live an extra 10 years because they are able to chew food and get the leafy greens which helps their body fight infections and live a healthier life. And scientifically they have said that keeping your teeth and gums healthy adds an extra 10 years so very important.

Healthy Teeth and Gums Lengthen Your Life Span

John: That is very important. Yeah. Everybody wants to live another 10 years. I don’t think that I can think of another thing that people, that doctors have said that, “Hey, if you do this one thing you’ll add a decade onto your life.” I haven’t heard of anything.

Dr. Nammy: Right. And the best part about healthy teeth and gums is that it helps you live an extra 10 years and healthy. So you’re avoiding diabetes, you’re avoiding hypertension, you’re avoiding a lot of other problems that go along with older age as our body breaks down, as we age in life. Keeping healthy teeth and gums gets rid of the bacteria in the mouth which helps make sure that our immune system works really well so we’re able to fight cancer, we’re able to control our sugar levels. And it just makes a healthy lifestyle because as we get older we also want the quality of life. We want a good 10 years, not just 10 years.

John: Right. So it’s a lot more than just being able to eat your food, it gets into your whole immune system and the way that your body works and all of that.

Dr. Nammy: Absolutely.

How to Make Your Teeth and Gums Healthy

John: What can people do to make sure that they continue to have healthy teeth and gums for their whole life?

Dr. Nammy: The most important is make sure to see the dentist, make sure we’re flossing and brushing regularly. That means an electric flosser and an electric toothbrush. Also controlling a dry mouth and controlling and checking that airway, making sure that you’re breathing through the nose and looking at anything that causes dry mouth whether it’s hormones, whether it’s sleep apnea, whether it’s ADHD medications, or anxiety medications. All of those things contribute to dry mouth and dry mouth actually causes a lot of bacterial buildup and tooth loss.

How to Break Bad Habits and Improve Oral Health

John: You might have people out there now who are saying, “Well it’s too late for me. I haven’t really taken good care of my teeth and my gums and it’s probably too late to change that.” What would you say to that and how can people maybe change their habits and start improving their dental health if they haven’t been doing a good job with that?

Dr. Nammy: The first thing I always say is sometimes it can be overwhelming and discouraging and then especially if you’re also the other aspect is discouraging if you’re constantly going to the dentist and they’re not looking at the root cause of things. So the first thing I would say is take matters into your own hands and realize, “Let me take a look at what is going on. What is the first step that I can take that I can commit to consistently?” And whether that means making sure that you’re brushing twice a day, morning and evening. And the second step may be brushing for three minutes morning and evening, then adding scraping the tongue, then adding the water pick or water flossing and then looking at how can I get to the dentist that I feel really comfortable with and then how can I be more preventative in my way of living versus being on the defense.

It’s better to play offense than defense is what I always say and it’s better to go in early, be on the preventative end of things, and start with the first step that you can commit to consistently. Because as you do that, you will build confidence, you will build comfort and it will help you make habits that are long lasting for you to have healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime.

Where to Start If You Want Healthy Teeth and Gums

John: Okay. Yeah. Anything else that you want to add in terms of healthy teeth and gums and what people should be doing?

Dr. Nammy: I just think take the first step whether that’s even meeting, give us a call we’re happy to chat with you, but just taking that first step to see whether that’s brushing twice a day. A lot of patients just brush once a day and the key is twice a day before you go to sleep and that’s the most important. So really start with that and then build progressively from there.

Protect the Health of Your Teeth and Gums – Contact Green Dentistry Today

John: All right. That’s really great advice Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dr. Nammy: My pleasure John.

John: And for more information about Green Dentistry visit the website at or call 415-433-0119.