Published on September 25th, 2012 | by Key Reads0
Flossing and Cardiovascular Disease: Can Dental Floss Save Your Life?
By Stephanie Unger
As if you didn’t already have enough reasons to keep your mouth clean, several new studies may have found even more reasons for you to start flossing. Over the past several years more and more evidence has been piling up linking gum disease to a host of other health problems including cardiovascular disease, clogged arteries, strokes, diabetes and even memory loss. Scientists are becoming increasingly aware that good health may depend on good dental hygiene.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone really that good overall health is affected by hygiene and good health in more specific areas of the body. Our mouths are one of the main gateways to our bodies, so if they are unhealthy, it stands to reason that the rest of our health may be affected as well. In fact, plaque, that gross white build up that starts around your teeth and gums when you’re not flossing, can carry up to 800 different strains of bacteria. Still, one of the more startling links the recent studies have found is the link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that people with periodontal disease, gingivitis, and cavities have a higher risk of cardiovascular heart disease than people who do not.
Another way science has found that oral health and flossing can save your life is that good dental health can help prevent clogged arteries. Scientists believe that plaque in your mouth may lead to plaque in your arteries. Bacteria from your mouth and gums can get into your blood stream and cause inflammation and obstruction to your arteries, possibly leading to atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is also linked to an increased number of strokes, bad cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. Flossing and brushing your teeth greatly reduce the oral bacteria which may cause your arteries to clog.
All of this evidence just points out that all of the parts of our bodies are more intertwined than we previously thought. A study in 2010 even found some links between memory and oral health. Scientists might not know the reasons for this link, or for the link between gum disease and heart disease, but you don’t have to be a genius to see that flossing your teeth isn’t just good for your pearly whites. So break out your floss and tooth paste, it’s time to do something good for your health!