You might think brushing and flossing your teeth religiously might have something to do with the enduring good health of your teeth but it turns out, your mind has a big role to play.
According to a study presented at the EuroPerio10 Congress of European Federation of Periodontology by a team of researchers from the University of France, people who leave things to fate are at a greater risk of losing their teeth than those who think they’re in control of their own future.
Yes! The study found that people who think that luck or chance determines their future were found to have lost an average of three teeth and were at a greater risk of developing gum disease. On the other hand, people who believe that they are the ones in control of their fate were missing one tooth on average and had healthier gums too.
“The finding that this belief system is linked with oral health should encourage dental professionals to assess the emotional state of their patients and, if necessary, refer them to appropriate psychological care,” said Dr. Sebastien Jungo, one of the study’s authors.
For the study, the researchers enrolled 79 patients and collected data about their lifestyle, income, education, and marital status. They also enquired about their stress levels and then determined their locus of control through a psychological questionnaire.
The locus of control refers to your perception of what causes the events in your life. For instance, if you believe that something bad happened in your life because of luck, or chance, then you have an external locus of control. But if you believe that things happen in your life because of your own actions then you have an internal locus of control.
The researchers found that people with external locus of control were found to have fewer teeth than those with an internal locus of control. These people also had greater attachment loss, which is the amount by which the gums stop hugging the tooth.
“Having an external locus of control was independently associated with more tooth loss and attachment loss, indicating greater severity of periodontitis,” said Dr. Jungo.
Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a very common condition that affects approximately 90 percent of people over 50. If left untreated, however, it can cause progressive bone loss around your teeth that may lead to them falling out.