Friends with Benefits…to your Health

San Francisco Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Edward L. Loev and his team are always looking for ways to improve the lives of their patients. Turns out; that just being a friend goes a long way. As a team, the professionals at Dr. Loev’s San Francisco dental office compiled (researched) a list of 5 ways that friends improve one’s health.

Friends Can Protect You From Dementia

A 15-year study of older people from Sweden's Karolinska Institutet showed that older people who were socially active had a lower incident of dementia. A rich social life may protect against dementia by providing emotional and mental stimulation, says Laura Fratiglioni, M.D., director of the institute's Aging Research Center

In another study by the University of Michigan of older individuals found that just 10 minutes of conversation led to substantially better scores on short-term memory tests.

Friends Can Add Years to Your Life

A study of almost 1500 seniors (65+) conducted by the Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging over a decade had a very interesting finding :having good friends increases longevity even more than having close relationships with adult children and other family. They were even able to quantify that those with the largest amount of close friends outlived those with the smallest amount by 22 percent.

Another study which examined data from more than 309,000 people, found that lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% — an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.

Friends Can Lowers Stress

Good friendships seem to be especially helpful for the heart. A three-year Swedish study of more than 13,600 men and women found that having few or no close friends increased the risk of having a first-time heart attack by about 50 percent. Another two-year study of more than 500 women with suspected coronary artery disease showed similar results. Those with strong social contact were found to be twice as likely to still be alive at the end of the 2 year study; they also had lower rates of high blood pressure and diabetes and were less likely to have excessive abdominal fat. Research also suggests that the human nervous system actually registers social exclusion as physical pain.

Friends Can Aid in Recovery

In a 2006 study of nearly 3,000 nurses with breast cancer found that those that surrounded themselves with loved ones and had 10 or more friends during recovery were four times less likely to die from the cancer than those without friends. Interestingly, proximity and the amount of contact with a friend didn’t have an impact, so even those with a small number of friends who lived far away benefited from the relationships.

Friends Can Help Good Habits Stick

Many studies show that social reinforcement aids in making good habits stick. In fact, numerous studies also show that peer groups actually do affect personal success, as people tend to follow the examples of their friends. By virtue of spending significant time together, friends influence behavior. As it turns out, being generous with others and building a network of successful, interesting people can contribute to your success in the long run.

In our office we have something that we call “New Year Resolution Factor.” Every year patients come in and tell us how one of their New Years Resolutions is to brush and floss more and better. While many of our amazing patients stick to that plan others have forgotten or are done by the end of January. We have seen that friends and family can even help from a dental health standpoint. When one spouse or partner has an invasive dental procedure or periodontal treatment the other partner either acts to keep them from having to go through it again or the individual that had it done starts preaching and in turns keeps the other member at least aware of the consequences.

Talking about consequences… Did you know that your oral health offers clues about your overall health — or that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Research shows a very clear correlation between oral health and systemic health. Links have been made between periodontal disease (gum disease) and diabetes, heart disease, and even Alzheimers. Gum disease has even been linked to low-birth rate in babies and recent studies have shown an impact on the lung, heart and even learning function of babies born to mothers with periodontal disease. San Francisco dentist Dr. Loev has a somewhat cheesy statement that he often uses “you don’t have to brush all of your teeth, only the ones that you want to keep!” Cutesy as it sounds as a healthcare team we really want you to stay healthy and keep your teeth. We can gently restore smiles through dental fillings; dental crowns and dental implants and help improve gum tissue through non-invasive periodontal deep cleanings but we would rather teach you how to care for your smile so that as a team we can keep it healthy and sparkling.

We love caring for existing patients in our Downtown San Francisco Dental Office and always look forward to welcoming new patients to our dental family. If you have any questions about this post or would like to schedule an appointment please call us or email us at 415-392-2072 or

Team Loev Team Loev is comprised of highly dedicated professionals who along with San Francisco Cosmetic, Restorative and Implant Dentist Dr. Edward Loev are committed to educating and hopefully entertaining in-person and virtual patients and making their lives a bit healthier and brighter

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