April 28th, 2016
It's spring, which means it's a great time to spend some time relaxing in the sun and admiring the beauty of nature.
Did you know that living near trees is proven to benefit our overall health? According to a recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports and conducted by University of Chicago psychologist Omid Kardan and his research team, nature can improve both cognitive and psychological aspects of our health.
This team of researchers examined the connection between the health records of more than 30,000 Toronto residents and Toronto's dataset of around 530,000 public, urban trees with the addition of private greenspace measured by satellites. The public tree data was grouped in terms of location, species, and diameter. The health records included self-reports and cases of cancer, diabetes, mental health problems, and heart problems. Although self-perceptions can be subjective, Marc Berman, co-author of the study and psychologist at the University of Chicago, says that they are mostly similar to objective measures of health.
Berman also noted that the public trees had the strongest impact on health. After comparing the effect that trees have on health to other factors such as wealth and age, the researchers discovered that adding 10 trees in an urban block can improve one's perception of health in similar ways to increasing one's income by $10,000, living in a neighborhood that has a median income higher by $10,000, or being younger by seven years! The study also concluded that trees not only improve self-perceptions, but also cardio-metabolic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.
Although these findings are powerful, they are "correlational," and therefore do not directly prove that trees cause better overall health. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't possible explanations. For instance, another study has shown that urban trees can remove ozone and pollution from the air and therefore improve the quality of air and protect people from these dangerous substances. Furthermore, Berman believes greenery is associated with a reduction of stress and increased motivation to exercise. Stress can lead to problems such as bruxism (grinding teeth and jaw clenching), gum disease, and canker sores, so trees can improve oral health as well!
Therefore, if you plan on moving to a new neighborhood, make sure to add "lots of trees" to your checklist!
Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment and consultation.
Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Van. Dr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.