Life

Ask the Dentist: It'll pay in the long term to invest in your health retirement plan now

Lucy Stock, dentist at Gentle Dental Care in Belfast, says we should all give more consideration to our health retirement plan

Don't leave it until you actually retire to eat and live healthily – the damage will already be done by then
Lucy Stock

BIOHACKERS are people who take health retirement planning to the extreme. They are maximising the potential of each cell in their body, to prolong life and its enjoyment to the nth degree.

The idea of health retirement planning largely escapes the mainstream; we've got used to the idea that we need to plan financially but we don't put as much into the health money box as is needed.

What you do see happening is retirees becoming fed up with being sick. Life trundles along fine and then it feels as if, out of nowhere, they are sideswiped as things start to go wrong. Multiple health problems means multiple visits to doctors and hospitals.

At the same time the teeth can give up the ghost, with pain and tooth loss on the dental menu. This means that not only do you have to deal with, let's say, cancer treatment, you also need to put up with annoying dentures that move around when you eat or painful jaw joints that add to your list of woes.

With all these visits to doctors and dentists there comes appointment fatigue and an element of anger. Why me? Why has this happened and why are all these things happening now when I am meant to be enjoying my retirement?

Some of the answers lie in the decades of eating and lifestyle behaviours of the past. Take the example of many teeth breaking down and needing to be removed. The story normally starts in teenage-hood when there's more of a sugary diet and brushing tends to be neglected. This means that the teeth have been compromised from a very early stage.

This and the subsequent stresses and strains, along with a modern, sugar-laden diet and other lifestyle factors that have a deleterious effect on teeth – such as smoking – wipe out the teeth.

Therefore I'd like to see a focus on health retirement planning, so that older people can enjoy themselves more and not be as bothered by the body and teeth breaking down. Give your body the best chance by adopting healthy eating habits way before pain or other symptoms start.

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