Oral Health and the Heart


Oral health affects the overall well-being of our bodies, that is what we have been told to encourage us to visit the dentist regularly, but is there an actual link? You might be surprised that recent studies have made a connection between poor oral health and heart disease, although further research is still needed to fully understand it.  Let’s discover how oral bacteria can trigger heart disease, the associated symptoms and how to prevent such incidences.

How oral bacteria affect the heart?
Our mouth harbors many bacterial species, some of which are harmless and considered a natural habitat of the oral cavity, yet most of them, if found in large numbers, will lead to oral infections, such as dental decay and gum inflammation. In certain cases, where a person is immunocompromised, due to old age, medical conditions or as a side effect of taking certain drugs, bacteria will become opportunistic and travel through the bloodstream affecting many organs such as the heart.

What heart conditions are associated with oral bacterial?
Arteriosclerosis; plaque (made of fats, cholesterol and other substances) gets deposited inside the wall of arteries that supply the heart muscle, with time, this plaque mass will get inflamed and repute, leading to blood clots which will restrict the blood flow to the heart muscle. Unfortunately, oral bacteria such as streptococcus viridians have been implicated in such blood clots.

A person with this type of condition will suffer from coronary heart disease; they will develop a sudden dull heavy pain in the middle of the chest, radiating to the arm and shoulder, along with difficulty in breathing, dizziness and sweating. If this is not managed in a timely manner, it can be fatal.

Infective endocarditis; this is a fatal condition where there is an infection in the inner lining of the heart. A patient with prosthetic heart valves or congenital heart disease is practically at higher risk of getting this. Oral bacteria, mainly streptococcus viridians will travel along with the blood until it reaches the heart, where it will adhere to its inner surface leading to severe inflammation.

The infected individual will have chest pain while breathing, shortness of breath, night sweats, fever and chills.

Other organs; lung infection (pneumonia) and joint infection (rheumatoid arteritis) are linked to the presence of oral bacteria as well. Although, as mentioned, further research needs to be done to fully understand this association.

So, how can we prevent such incidents?
Oral hygiene is the keyword, when we practice proper oral hygiene measures; we control the number of harmful bacteria in our mouth, thus reducing the risk of developing general health disorders.

You can do that by following these simple steps:

Lastly, it is important to keep your dentist informed regarding your heart problems; you need to state your full medical history along with the medications you are taking. Certain elective procedures can be postponed, if your dentist sees it might pose a risk of developing a heart infection.

Wisdom Teeth: Should They Be Removed or Not?


You have probably heard that wisdom teeth need to be removed, but is that really the case? Or could leaving them in be a smarter decision? In this blog post, we will go over the pros and cons of having wisdom teeth removed so you can make the best decision for your dental health.

What Exactly are Wisdom Teeth?
Most people have four wisdom teeth, which are the molars (large grinding teeth) at the very back of your mouth. Wisdom teeth typically appear in your late teens or early twenties. For some people, wisdom teeth cause no problems, and they never need to be removed.

But for others, wisdom teeth can be problematic. They may grow in crooked, become impacted (stuck), or grow only partially through the gum. When wisdom teeth are not removed, they can crowd or damage surrounding teeth and make it difficult to keep your mouth clean.

Common wisdom teeth pain symptoms can occur when wisdom teeth become impacted or start to grow in. If you experience pain, you may notice:

  • •Swelling and tenderness in your gums
  • •Pain when biting down
  • •A bad taste in your mouth
  • •An unpleasant odor coming from your mouth

If you are experiencing any wisdom teeth pain symptoms, see your dentist or oral surgeon to discuss whether you need your wisdom teeth removed.

Are Wisdom Teeth Really All That Necessary? 
For years, wisdom teeth have been seen as a necessary evil. While they may eventually provide some extra chewing surface, they often cause more problems than they are worth. Wisdom teeth removal is a common surgery, and even then, wisdom teeth can cause problems like crowding, infection, and damage to surrounding teeth.

So why do we have wisdom teeth in the first place? Scientists believe that wisdom teeth were once helpful for our ancestors who had to chew tougher foods. However, as our diets have softened over time, wisdom teeth have become less and less necessary.

Keeping Your Wisdom Teeth  
There are a couple of good reasons to keep your wisdom teeth. For one thing, they can provide extra support for the jawbone as we age. Overall, asymptomatic or pain-less wisdom teeth do not pose a threat to other teeth like the second molars and can be kept to avoid the hassle1.

Second, there is also a risk of damaging nerves during wisdom teeth removal, which can cause numbness in the lips or chin.

When Wisdom Teeth Should be Removed 
While wisdom teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth, they often cause problems when they become impacted, or fail to erupt properly. When wisdom teeth become impacted, they can grow at an angle and push against other teeth, causing pain and crowding. In some cases, wisdom teeth may even become fused to the jawbone.

If wisdom teeth are not removed, they can lead to a host of dental problems, including:

  • •Infections
  • •Cysts
  • •Gum disease
  • •Inflammation

A 2020 study points to some evidence that suggests that keeping pain-less disease-free impacted wisdom teeth can increase the risk of gum diseases like periodontitis2. Another 2015 study suggested that dentigerous cysts may actually become increasingly common as a person ages as the inflammation becomes prolonged3.

Wisdom teeth removal is a relatively straightforward procedure, and removal pain can be effectively managed with over-the-counter or prescription medications. In most cases, wisdom teeth pain relief is just a matter of waiting for the healing process to complete.

While there are pros and cons to keeping your wisdom teeth, we believe that making an informed choice is always best.




  1. Kaye E, Heaton B, Aljoghaiman EA, Singhal A, Sohn W, Garcia RI. Third-Molar Status and Risk of Loss of Adjacent Second Molars. Journal of Dental Research. 2021;100(7):700-705. doi:10.1177/0022034521990653
  2. Ghaeminia H, Nienhuijs MEL, Toedtling V, et al. Surgical removal versus retention for the management of asymptomatic disease-free impacted wisdom teeth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020;5(5). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003879.PUB5
  3. Asnani S, Mahindra U, Rudagi B, Kini Y, Kharkar V. Dentigerous cyst with an impacted third molar obliterating complete maxillary sinus. Indian Journal of Dental Research. 2012;23(6):833-835. doi:10.4103/0970-9290.111275

Questions About Dental Implants and Cleanings


Most people cannot imagine losing their adult natural teeth. Unfortunately, this could become a reality, whether a tooth gets accidentally knocked out or a tooth may need to be pulled it is best to know your replacement options.  Some common options are crowns, bridges, dentures, or dental implants.   To see which option will work best for your condition it is best to have a consultation with your dentist.  Depending on condition and budget — dental implants are usually the best choice.  Dental implants are a permanent solution to replace missing teeth, look similar to natural teeth and can improve mouth function. However, you should not take your dental implants for granted. 


Dental implants must be given the same care as if they were your actual teeth (because, in a sense, they are your teeth). When properly cared for, they are durable with a 98% success rate and can last your whole life. 


Are Regular Cleanings Necessary with Dental Implants?

Whether you have a few (with your regular teeth) or a mouthful, dental implants still need dental cleaning from a dentist. It is only natural to question why there is a need for a dentist if you have dental implants. 


The reality is that dental implants need the same kind of care as natural teeth. This means brushing them, flossing them, and using mouthwash. Plus, it means going to see the dentist regularly for check-ups. At the dentist, the hygienist will use another regimen for cleaning with special tools. They will not be looking for cavities but instead they will inspect your gums for possible disease and symptoms of dental implant infection known as Peri-implantitis. 


What is Peri-implantitis?

Peri-implantitis is a pathological condition occurring in tissues around dental implants, characterized by inflammation in the Peri-implant connective tissue and progressive loss of supporting bone.


Your dental implants need as much cleaning as regular teeth to ensure good oral health.


How Often Should You See a Dentist with Dental Implants? 

Every patient’s oral health is unique, and the protocol for them will also differ. It all depends on their situation; your dentist will recommend the best course of action and time-frame for you. Most dentists recommend that dental implant patients come in two times a year for a cleaning, more if there are any issues. 


Is A Dentist Necessary with A Removable Implant Prosthesis?

Absolutely. You may remove your prosthesis every day to brush and keep them looking their best, but you should still make an appointment every six months to be professionally cleaned and determine if the implants are still in good condition. Your Sahara dentist in Las Vegas can also determine if there are any possible complications with them – snaps, clips, or attachments – that must be addressed.  


A dentist will also do x-rays of your mouth to ensure the implants are healthy with supporting bone. 


Minimize the Impact of Sugar on Teeth


Bacteria in the mouth may be both useful and dangerous.  When sugar is consumed the bacteria in the mouth quickly start producing acid.  Infectious bacteria feed on sugar, which produces acids that eat away at teeth’s protective enamel.  Cavities and holes in teeth are a result from the bacterial infection caused by the acids. If left untreated, cavities may penetrate into the inner layers of teeth, causing discomfort and tooth loss.  Fortunately, there are steps we can take to repair the harm that acids produce.

Start by educating yourself with the amount of sugar in foods and drinks.  It is also important to be informed of the many different forms and names of sugars in the foods and beverages we consume. What are the foods and drinks consumed daily?  For instance most of us drink coffee or tea daily, slowly start decreasing the amount of sugar you sprinkle in your tea or coffee.  Over time, taste buds become accustomed to the subtle taste difference and it is an easy step to help reduce your sugar consumption. Switching to agave nectar rather than sugar in your daily coffee is another option.  Agave’s glycemic index is lower than sugar’s, it will not cause as much of a jump in blood sugar levels.  In addition to being available in most supermarkets, agave nectar is also becoming more common in coffee shops. When agave is not readily available at local coffee shops, or if the taste of agave is an issue, simply reduce the amount of sugar.

When consuming something sweet or sticky try to shorten the amount of time the residue stays on teeth.  Leaving sugary, sticky residue on teeth for longer periods of time may cause additional harm to your teeth since they will be exposed to more acidic conditions.  To help reduce the residue on your teeth schedule a dental deep cleaning and checkup twice per year.

Whenever the sweet tooth urge starts to kick in be equipped with nutritious sugar-free snacks.

Or make one half of the snack nutritious sugar-free before you indulge. An excellent example is pairing chocolate with almonds, oats, or strawberries.  There are many useful resources on the internet that can help you discover and create healthier teeth friendly snacks.

Cleaning between teeth: The secret behind a truly healthy smile

Sahara Dental - Flossing

The secret to having a beautiful, healthy smile is maintaining impeccable oral hygiene. We all know how important it is to brush our teeth twice a day to keep them clean and devoid of debris and bacteria. Ideally, it would be best to use a good quality dentist-recommended toothpaste and soft nylon toothbrush to clean your teeth. However, some of us forget one small but integral addition to our regular oral hygiene practice: cleaning between the teeth.

Why is it important to clean between teeth?
Brushing teeth is one of the most effective ways of keeping our teeth clean, but it only reaches about 60% of a tooth’s surface. The surface between two teeth is not reachable by a usual toothbrush and often gets missed. The tiny space between two teeth, also known as interdental spaces, is a favorable hiding spot for disease-causing bacteria.

Our mouth is a host of millions of bacteria, and while most of them are harmless and even essential, some can be disease-causing under suitable conditions. These suitable conditions are provided to the bacteria by the food debris that gets dislodged between two teeth.

Plaque is a sticky, yellowish film that forms daily on the surfaces of the teeth and houses these disease-causing bacteria. Proper toothbrushing eliminates plaque from the tooth’s outer surface but fails to remove the plaque that forms between the teeth.

Bacteria from this plaque metabolize the sugars from the food debris and release toxic by-products in the mouth responsible for oral ailments like dental cavities and gum diseases.

Interdental cleaning ensures proper and complete plaque removal, thus reducing your risk of contracting dental infections, dental decay, and gum diseases.

Tools for proper interdental cleaning
To ensure you are correctly cleaning between your teeth, you must have the right tool. Fortunately, there are various options for you to choose from, and you can select one which fits your needs and requirement.

Floss is the most commonly used interdental cleaning aid. It is usually made from nylon, can be waxed or unwaxed, and comes in a plastic case.

To properly floss your teeth, break off about 18 inches of floss and wrap the two ends on the middle fingers of both your hands. Hold the floss and make it taut. Next, guide the floss between your teeth and push it down, forming a c-shape on one tooth while coming up. Continue till you have covered all the teeth. Make sure you discard this piece after a single-use.

In recent times, single floss sticks have also been made available in pharmacies to ensure a hassle-free flossing experience.

Interdental Brush
It is a specially designed toothbrush that has a small, conical shape tip and is used to clean the small gaps between the teeth, gums, and areas around braces. The shape of the brush allows it to pass through the tiniest of spaces and ensures adequate cleaning.

Oral Irrigators (Water Irrigators)
Oral irrigators or water irrigators have gained immense popularity in recent times. These devices let out a jet stream of water which flushes out the bacterial debris lodged between two teeth. It is a safe and reliable interdental cleaning and has shown effective results.

Cleaning between teeth is vital for a healthy smile and must be done at least once every day. If you have any doubts about interdental cleaning or which tool to use, you can also consult with your dentist. After all, excellent oral health and a healthy smile are key to our physical and mental well-being.

Treatments and Solutions for Bad Breath and Halitosis

Treatments and Solutions for Bad Breath and Halitosis

Find yourself having to chew gum or use breath mints all the time to get rid of that stubborn odor? You might be one of four people in the world that suffer from chronic bad breath or halitosis. Halitosis is a condition in which the odor from your mouth exceeds what is deemed socially acceptable.

Now, bad breath and halitosis are caused by many factors from disease to common lifestyle choices. If you have a consistently dry mouth and use tobacco products regularly, you have a much higher likelihood of developing bad breath. Poor dental hygiene, having dentures, and odor-causing bacteria are other notorious factors contributing to halitosis. Some serious conditions such as periodontal disease and a respiratory tract infection could also be causing that problematic and pesky smell.

Now not to worry, halitosis and bad breath are not something you have to get used to and accept. There are several ways in which you can overcome this annoying hurdle. The main steps are:

1) Treatment of Underlying Disease
After visiting a dental specialist, you may be diagnosed with periodontal disease or a respiratory tract infection. It is very common to experience bad breath when dealing with these conditions. By going to a dentist, you will get treated for all the infections within your gum line which may cause inflammation. This is most often caused by a lot of yellow buildup of plaque around the teeth very close to the gum-line.

2) Removal of Build-Up
A build-up, similar to the one seen in periodontal disease, may cause bad breath even before causing disease. It would be a good precaution to look out for this as most dentists will be able to remove all the plaque. Bacteria build-up on the tongue is also a cause for concern. However, brushing regularly, using a tongue scraper as well as a bacterium-killing mouthwash could make the build-up subside within days or weeks.

3) Reinstating Good Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing regularly would be the best course of action if you do not have a condition or build-up. By being more proactive in oral hygiene, such as brushing longer and in different directions, you are sure to improve your breath.

4) Avoiding Certain Foods
Certain foods you eat could adversely impact how your breath smells. Some foods to avoid would be onion, garlic and an excessive consumption of coffee all have the potential to make your breath smell unpleasant.

Tooth loss is a risk factor for Cognitive Impairment and Dementia


With an increasing number of people, especially the elderly, having cognitive impairment (CI) and dementia, there is a strong need to narrow down the cues that lead to these debilitating diseases. In the United States alone, there are around 6 million people living with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, and the number is predicted to touch a staggering 14 million by 2060. On the other hand, cognitive impairment or subjective cognitive decline is quite common, especially in people who live by themselves, with some states having up to 50% population with some symptoms.

One of the surprising associations of both dementia (mostly associated with Alzheimer’s) and cognitive impairment is tooth loss. While it might sound absurd that losing teeth can cause someone to develop dementia or CI, research has shown a positive relationship between the two. There are multiple studies that have shown this resemblance. For instance, research led by NYU concluded that people who had tooth loss had a 1.48% higher chance of getting these diseases, especially in their late ages. The study also hinted that the early use of dentures has a somewhat protective effect on people who have tooth loss. Other studies carried out in Japan and Saudi Arabia also suggested similar findings.

You might be thinking what is the relationship between the two? Well as for now we don’t know the exact mechanism but it is partly associated with the stress of losing teeth. Teeth along with other facial features like tongue, lips, and facial skin are important aspects of a person’s appearance. Having some problems with teeth, especially being edentulous denotes the loss of sexual characteristics, increasing the feeling of growing old, and looking unattractive.

These feelings have various adverse psychological effects on a person, with some people even having brain loss. A 2018 research showed that people with teeth loss or edentulous people have decreased gray matter (type of brain tissue) in their brains, especially in the hippocampus, caudate nucleus, and temporal lobe of the right hemisphere. These areas of the brain are thought to have a crucial role in developing and retrieving memories. The caudate nucleus is especially associated with cognitive development while the hippocampus mainly functions as the memory maker of our brain

It does make intuitive sense that damage to these areas can lead to dementia and cognitive impairment. One of the reasons is the psychological trauma that is caused by the loss of teeth. While more studies are needed to make certain connections between tooth loss, dementia, and CI, it is evident that tooth loss in adults should be properly taken care of by a dentist to avoid these devastating conditions.

We are passionate about caring for our patients. To reduce your risk of dementia contact us today at (702) 257-9090 and learn about our tooth loss solutions.

Vitamins for Healthy Gums


Vitamins and minerals play a significant role in healthy gums and overall oral health. The good news is that many of the vitamins and minerals that are required for healthy gums can be obtained from a balanced diet. People who have a vitamin deficiency can experience oral health problems such as tooth decay, bleeding gums, receding gums, and even tooth loss. It is important to understand which vitamins and minerals are needed for people with gum disease in order to prevent any future complications. Better still, the same vitamins can help prevent gum disease in the first place.

Vitamin C
This powerful antioxidant protects and strengthens gum tissue and the connective tissue that holds everything together in your mouth. It is one of the most important vitamins for oral health as it also helps fight off bacteria that can lead to inflammation and infections. Vitamin C reduces bleeding gums and can turn periodontal disease around in many cases.

Vitamin D
Also known for its help with overall tooth health by promoting mineralization, vitamin D is also a necessary nutrient for healthy gums. Deficiencies directly lead to inflammation, gingivitis, and other painful and unattractive problems. While studies are inconclusive about whether it actually offers a cure or treatment for existing gum issues, they are much more prevalent in people without sufficient levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin A
This essential vitamin for gum disease health boosts your body’s natural ability to protect your teeth and gums by influencing saliva production. Although many might not like to think about it, saliva does a very important job in your mouth. It helps break down food molecules and keeps things clean in between tooth brushing and flossing.

B Complex Vitamins
Lack of sufficient B vitamins also leads to bleeding gums, inflammation, deeper pockets between gums and teeth, and other periodontal diseases. This is especially true for folate and thiamine.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3s contribute greatly to the overall health of gum tissue. Studies have clearly demonstrated improvement in existing gum disease after taking these supplements. The study results have shown spaces between gums and teeth decreased while more connective tissue reattached the gums versus groups not ingesting these essential fatty acids.

Although this is a mineral instead of a vitamin, it is an essential part of maintaining gum health and preventing periodontal disease. It has actually shown to reduce levels of plaque in the mouth for both children and adults, especially those with diabetes. Zinc is also an anti-inflammatory and shows promise in minimizing the severity of chronic gum disease overall.

Coenzyme Q10
Another well-known antioxidant that benefits a host of body systems, CoQ10 has demonstrated excellent levels of protection for people with gum disease. It minimizes inflammation and especially helps the healing process after invasive dental procedures. This supplement can get you on the road to gum disease health and recovery more quickly.

On your next check-up visit to Sahara Dental Las Vegas, ask your dentist what vitamins and minerals you may need for healthier gums.

Top Dental Tips for Thanksgiving


In just a week, families and friends will gather for Thanksgiving and enjoy many delicious foods and treats together. Can you imagine the mashed potatoes with gravy, grandma’s famous apple pie, and candied yams? In the preparation for the big day, you may not give a second thought to your teeth. Before you dig into the feast, consider these important dental tips.

Roast Turkey Tops the List

Turkey is the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving table. This delicious main dish has lots of protein and other health benefits. However, even the best-cooked bird can have stringy bits that may get stuck between your teeth. Bring along some dental floss to the family gathering and excuse yourself for a quick treatment after dinner.

Sticky Green Bean Casserole

A classic family favorite, green bean casserole comes with healthy vegetables but a generous helping of sticky soup or sauce that can cling to your teeth after the meal is done. Give your mouth a swish with water and floss to make sure no particles are left.

Pile Your Plate with Vegetables

Not only do vegetables without sauce taste delicious, but they also represent a healthy option for your teeth during the Thanksgiving celebration. Get calcium from leafy greens like spinach or kale. Improve gum health with vitamin C from orange and red vegetables like peppers and carrots.

Avoid Acidic Foods When Possible

For most people, Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy a true feast and not worry too much about their diet. If you focus is more on preserving dental hygiene, avoid acidic foods that may weaken your tooth enamel. At least mix different types of foods together and drink water to help wash the acid away. Some problem foods include wine, cranberry juice or sauce, and anything with citrus.

Put a Limit on Sugar

Holiday gatherings, the dessert table often looks as full as the dinner table. How can you enjoy Thanksgiving with your family and friends without a slice of pumpkin pie or apple crumble? If you opt for a fruit dessert, you do get some vitamins and fiber from that. Pumpkin and sweet potato, for example, have a lot of vitamin C and A. However, the high sugar content can work against your healthy teeth plans. Practice moderation and always finish with a swish of water.

Starches Turn Into Sugar, Too

It may seem obvious to avoid candied yams piled high with marshmallows, but mashed potatoes with a high starch content can also transform quickly to sugar when they come in contact with enzymes in your saliva. Potatoes do have a lot of nutrients like vitamin C, B6, and potassium. Other starches like bread rolls can have a lot of healthy fiber, too. You do not have to skip your favorite side dish. Just understand the importance of limits and proper oral hygiene soon after Thanksgiving dinner.

Bring along your toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss to your holiday gathering year. Not only will you protect the health of your teeth and gums, you will also have fresh breath and whiter teeth for greeting family and friends all day long.

Vertical Tooth Root Fractures Explained


Over time teeth experience wear and tear just like any other part of your body. This can lead to degradation of materials and the possibility of cracks. A vertical root fracture is one of the five different cracked tooth types. As the name implies, this type of break travels from the very bottom of the root all the way up to the top exposed surface. Although some discomfort may exist, many people do not notice this type of damage. They may only seek treatment after infection, swelling, and pain begins.

Common Causes of Vertical Root Fractures

Any cracks occur more readily in weak teeth that have already sustained damage, have had a root canal, fillings, crowns or caps, or other restorative work. They can occur to healthy teeth if they experience trauma, you bite down on a hard object like ice or candy, or if nearby teeth are already cracked or loose. They sometimes occur during root canal procedures. You may notice it happening if you hear a pop, experience a burst of pain, and the area around the tooth begins to bleed.

Vertical Root Fracture Symptoms

As mentioned above, when a tooth is first fractured, there may not be any noticeable issues. Possible symptoms include general discomfort or a sharp twinge of pain when biting or chewing, a visible crack during a dental examination, swelling, and abscess, or boil near the tooth indicating an infection, or a pocket in the gum next to the tooth in question.

A dentist should notice if a vertical root fracture occurs during a root canal procedure. If this happens, they may order x-rays to identify the exact extent of the damage. Another diagnostic option is a process called transillumination. This uses a special light that shines around and through teeth and highlights breakage and cracks.

Treatment Options for Vertical Root Fractures

After diagnosis, dentists can offer multiple treatment options.  One of the simplest involves bonding the tooth itself using dental cement or another type of adhesive. This will stop the fracture from getting worse and can help prevent other physical damage. Unfortunately, this only works in some cases, another option is getting a tooth extraction.  Taking care of these issues sooner than later minimizes the chance of getting a potentially serious infection. Any existing infection can grow easily with a vertical root fracture and damage the surrounding tissue including the jawbone. With a healthy bone, you may be a candidate for a dental implant to replace the lost tooth.

One of the best ways to alleviate potentially serious problems caused by vertical root fracture is to avoid getting one in the first place. Take proper care of your teeth to prevent the need for fillings and root canal. Regular dental checkups for cleaning will detect any cavities and other issues before they become expensive problems.  Discuss all your options if your dental team suggests a root canal to help avoid fractures and structural tooth weakness.

If you experience any of the symptoms described above, schedule an appointment with Sahara Dental as soon as possible. They will diagnose your of vertical root fracture or other problem and suggest appropriate treatment options.  Remember, their goal is to ensure proper teeth health and function now and for many years to come.