A Floss Each Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Oral Hygiene & Your Health

More and more studies are emerging linking dental health to heart disease. In fact, poor oral health has been associated with Alzheimer’s, diabetes, strokes and memory loss. Though we may not think of it in this way, our mouth is the gateway to the rest of our body. Whether it’s what we put in it, or how we care for it, what goes in has to go somewhere. The main problem we face is plaque build-up. Plaque in our mouths is formed as a result of up to 700 different strains of bacteria trying to stick to the surface of our teeth. Gross. We know that this plaque can lead to a lot of problems in our mouths, like gingivitis or periodontal disease, but now we are finding that it can also lead to some other major problems in our body. Each day the importance of dental hygiene increases with the knowledge of these ties.

Several theories exist, all which are reliant on this build up of bacteria. One thought is that the bacteria in the mouth can find it’s way into the bloodstream and attach to the plaque in our heart arteries. This plaque is different than the plaque in our mouths but theory states that the bacteria can adhere to it in a similar manner. Another opinion suspects that inflammation is to blame. Poor oral health can lead to infections that cause inflammation. This inflammation is thought to irritate the arteries of the heart, making them more vulnerable to plaque build-up.

So what can we do? Exactly what we’ve been told our entires lives. Continue to brush twice daily and don’t skip the floss! Flossing eliminates the plaque from your teeth’s surface. It also gets out miniscule pieces of food that get lodged between your teeth. If left in place these crumbs, so to speak, can lead to cavities, periodontal (gum) disease, bacteria growth, you know where this is going… So moral of the story? Floss. The recommendation is once daily since it takes 24 hours for the plaque to reform. Apparently it begins to build immediately post scrubbing it off. Another good defense is mouthwash, which helps in killing off the nasty bacteria.

Even though we don’t know the exact correlation between our oral health and these diseases, we know they are tied. That’s motivation enough for me. Happy flossing.

Flossing Makes Happy People