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Good Friends for Good Health

By: Dr. Ratti Handa on April 12th, 2017

We know that our close circle of friends and family add a lot to our lives. Outside of bringing us laughter, joy and support when times get tough, studies have shown that having a close circle of friends or relatives can have a positive impact on our health, especially later in life. Emerging research is beginning to show a connection between oral health and our relationships with others as well.

In other words, your friends may be helping you keep your teeth healthy!

It’s all about a trusting bond and the longevity of a relationship. When a loved one shares a personal tidbit with you, like a favorite toothpaste brand or a switch to a new toothbrush, you take it to heart and value it more than when a stranger says it to you. Indeed, research shows that you may value the information from a close friend or relative more than you would from your own dentist!

There are positive and negative take-aways from this. If you and your close circle of influence are all practicing positive oral habits and regularly receiving good health information from your favorite dentist, you are more likely to have healthy teeth and spread that good health to the people you know and love. In that same vein, bad advice or even lack of advice can spread the same way. What does it mean for you?

  1. Be a source of goodness

    That starts with keeping your regular dental appointments, creating a strong relationship with your favorite dentist, and then paying close attention to the medical advice you are given. This will make you a source of good information and advice if a friend or family member asks you questions.

  2. Don’t be afraid to share

    You don’t have to force it, of course, but if teeth or health come up in regular conversation, take a little time to share what you’re up to. How can you be a good influence if you keep all your knowledge to yourself?

  3. Be the good example

    If you are a parent, uncle, aunt or grandparent, always remember that the children in your life are paying attention. Putting your healthy habits (dental and otherwise) on display is an excellent way to teach them how to practice good health themselves. You are teaching, even when you don’t mean to!

We are all part of little circles and networks of people. It may feel obvious, but science is now confirming what we know in our hearts: relationships matter more than we could possibly know. Even, it would seem, for our precious teeth and overall health!

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