We all know that age is just a number, but for some people it seems more accurate than for others? Why is it that some people seem to age quickly while others are virtually timeless?
The answer, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is that some people seem to experience vastly different rates of aging in the function of different systems of their body, which contribute to them experiencing much faster aging than their peers.
And gum disease may be at the center of it.
Measuring Your True Age
This study attempted to measure the difference between biological and chronological age. The study assessed the difference by looking at the health of 18 different body systems, all of which show marked decline with age. They then compared the status of these different body systems with people of the same peer group and determined how different people were aging.
The study looked at 954 people who were born in the years 1972-1973 and measured the state of these 18 body systems three times, when the subjects were 26 years old, 32 years old, and 38 years old.
Some people seemed to be nearly frozen in age for the entire length of the study. Their biological age at the end of the study was only 28. Others aged much faster than we would expect, about three biological years for each one chronological year. By the end of the study, some participants had a biological age of 61, nearly twice their chronological age!
Is Gum Disease Accelerating Your Aging?
It was beyond the scope of this study to look at the causes of biological aging pace. It just looked at the speed at which different people aged. But when we look at the factors that researchers were measuring, including:
- Heart and blood vessels
- Immune system
- Mental acuity
We see that most of these systems can be negatively impacted by gum disease. Gum disease contributes to heart disease, arterial plaque, and stroke. Gum disease can negatively impact kidney health, liver health, and puts a strain on the immune system. Gum disease has even been associated with Alzheimer’s disease, which points to the accelerated pace of cognitive decline in subjects that were aging rapidly. And gum disease can increase the risk of other consequences of aging, such as erectile dysfunction and cancer.
We don’t know for sure that gum disease is really behind accelerated aging, but it certainly seems that preventing and treating gum disease is likely good for slowing your aging process.