I’m Getting Older;
I’m Getting Better!

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     Nutritional Periodontist
      June 13, 2016   [printfriendly]

Getting Older & Getting BetterJust yesterday I was speaking with some friends about how my life has changed, now that I am considered a senior citizen. For those who don’t know, I am 69 years old – not as old as many of my friends but definitely older than most.


There is great satisfaction in getting older, but not in getting old.


First, I want to make a personal distinction: getting older to me is the chronological aging process; getting old to me is the decrease in the quality of life from chronic degenerative diseases. I wrote about this in a previous blog. I’m getting older; I’m not getting old!


After thinking about the question, I realized that there are many changes, and most of them are exciting. You see, I am starting my 4th year of my new life of primal eating and primal lifestyle choices. I have said this before, and I will keep saying this, “I am healthier today than I have ever been in my life.” I am a work in progress.


Getting older for me is awakening some positive changes in my life both personally and professionally. It is opening a thrilling and innovative world.


Personally, getting older means understanding what really matters in life. Getting older means not being so judgmental of others. It means reflecting and learning from all of those past experiences. It means that personal beauty is not as important as health and quality of life. Getting older means spending quality time with loved ones is more stimulating than spending money on some material purchase.


Professionally, getting older means understanding better what my patients are going through emotionally, medically, and physically – not just dentally. It means asking open-ended questions to learn much more about them beyond their mouths. It means listening to their life issues more fully.


Getting older is a maturing process. I can’t tell you when it happened for me or when it will happen for you. You just know it when it appears.


A big change for me was that I have become more philosophical. Outwardly, sunsets and sunrises are more beautiful; a rainbow has more intensity; the sounds of nocturnal creatures are more melodic. Inwardly, my thoughts have turned more pensive and contemplative.


Another change for me was that I feel more comfortable in my own skin. It used to be I was concerned with what others wanted me to do or what others wanted me to say or what others wanted me to be. Getting older has allowed me to be a better person within so that I am a better person without.


As I am getting older, I also am seeing more potential for me to grow:

  • I have written a book, Hunger for Health, which will be published in the near future.
  • I have begun an organic cosmetic company with three other open-minded people. Our company will be manufacturing organic tooth polishes, an organic denture adhesive, and other organic body creams that will be distributed globally. These products are unique; they are healthy enough to eat.
  • I have been appointed to the faculty of The College of Integrative Medicine. Along with this appointment, I have been contracted by the College to write the first periodontal integrative module, which has been incorporated into the College’s extensive certified study program.


All this is happening as I have emerged as a senior citizen. Yes, I am getting older, but I am getting better. My new world is opening up in a reinvigorating way.


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Getting Older Doesn’t Mean Getting Old

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     March 24, 2016   [printfriendly]

Getting Older doesn't mean Getting OldGetting older is just a numbers thing. Chronological age is just a way of telling how many years are behind you. Obviously, bodily changes occur with normal aging. Changes occur in our physical and mental abilities. That is part of a healthy process of getting older. We can gracefully get older.


In contrast to getting older, getting old is a decline in the quality of life.


Many of us may be sick or may get sick with debilitating illnesses. Chronic disease has never been a part of getting older – only getting old. The history of human evolution suggests that developing chronic disease is not part of the normal human life cycle.


Our options to deal with the complications of getting old with these illnesses compromise our quality of life. There are in-home nursing care, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. There are numerous medications we must take, doctor’s appointments we must keep, and life goals we must change. But, all this is not inevitable. If triggers of chronic disease were addressed in a timely fashion, we could prevent or improve this decline in the quality of our life.


Even as far back as 1980, James F. Fries, M.D. published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine that discussed his concept of compression of morbidity. In his article, Dr. Fries explained that chronic disease affects the quality of life. The amount of years that are affected depends on the onset of disease. He suggested that the years of decreased quality of life could be shortened and possibly reduced completely if only we controlled the environmental causes of chronic disease early on.


I have written about how we can manage as much as 90% of the causes of chronic disease. That includes the chronic infection of gum disease.


Some people have suggested that as we age, we will eventually lose our teeth and require false teeth to replace our natural teeth. That is not true. A healthy mouth reflects a healthy body – a body that has been nourished with both nutrient-dense foods and an effective lifestyle.


Here are two photos of a man and a woman. These pictures may be disturbing to some readers because they may look unnatural. However, the photography was done with the lips pulled back to show the teeth and gums for better viewing. Both have healthy mouths; both have healthy bodies:

Healthy Mouth 76 MaleThis is a 76-year-old man.


Healthy Mouth 83 FemaleThis is an 83-year-old woman.


Getting older is what I strive for; getting old is not in my vocabulary.


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