We all know that flossing your teeth is good for them, and you. It removes any buildup of plaque and bits of food stuck between your teeth, making them look brighter and cleaner, and helping prevent both periodontal (gum) disease and Halitosis (bad breath). Think of it as like vacuuming a carpet, you might not really see the dirt and dust before you vacuum, but you sure notice the difference in appearance and even smell after you’re done.
Healthy gums and a brighter, whiter smile should be enough reason for anyone to floss regularly but if you need more convincing…
Periodontal disease begins with a build-up of plaque turning into tartar. The tartar itself damages the gums as well as providing a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria which cause gum disease. Research has shown that there are two types of bacteria which originate in plaque that can enter your bloodstream. These then cause a buildup of plaque in your arteries which can lead to heart disease. In fact, a study on the topic found that people with periodontal disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart attacks.
During the winter months, pneumonia, bronchitis and other infections of the lung are quite common. These are caused by either bacteria or viruses and, while generally not life-threatening, can be extremely uncomfortable, with symptoms such as chest pain, coughing, and fever. A study published in 2011 found that the bacteria that causes gum disease can also enter the lungs and aggravate respiratory ailments as well as making it more likely that you will contract them in the first place.
Periodontal disease is basically a chronic inflammation of the gums. Arthritis is a chronic inflammation of the joints. A link between the two conditions was found in a 2008 study, which showed that people with rheumatoid arthritis were more than 8 times more likely to have periodontal disease.
A 2010 review of 70 studies from around the world found that people with periodontitis are much more likely to be overweight, and vice versa. Although there is no direct proof that gum disease causes obesity or vice versa, the link between them seems to be chronic inflammation, which causes oxidative stress and the production of cytokines, contributing factors in obesity.
So although flossing might seem like a drag, good oral hygiene gives you much more than just a dazzling smile. The condition of your teeth and gums has a huge impact on your overall health which is why you should floss at least once a day and visit your dentist twice a year to get your teeth cleaned. You might think that visiting the dentist is a bit scary, but it’s still better than having to see a cardiologist.