You’ve perhaps heard it mentioned numerous times and filtered it out as background noise. “Flossing is great for your teeth!” You may even know this intuitively, and yet you still don’t do it. Perhaps you’ve tried to do it and dropped the habit after a couple of half-hearted attempts.
Well, you may want to pick up that string of dental floss because flossing can benefit you in ways you may have never imagined. Here are five benefits of flossing:
1. Floss for a better, healthier heart – Say what? How does flossing your teeth benefit your heart? Well, scientific studies have shown a link between gum disease and heart disease. Gum disease causes gums to become swollen and to also bleed.
These inflamed gums also contain bacteria which can enter the blood stream and find their way to your heart. Once there, they can cause all kinds of problems such as clotting and can also contribute to the clogging up of arteries which can then lead to heart disease.
2. Floss to take care of your health – This may sound like a bit of a stretch, but it couldn’t be truer. A survey published in the BMJ in 2010 came to this very conclusion. The findings were interesting. People with gum disease (which is prevented by flossing) were more prone to chronic infections. This would be caused by the gums bleeding and harmful bacteria entering the blood stream via the gums.
They found that these chronic infections caused a systemic inflammatory response in the body. What they also discovered in their blood were higher levels of a protein in the blood known as C-reactive protein which rises in response to inflammation. Worryingly, this protein has been linked to cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
3. Floss your way to bedroom bliss – If you are male, you may want to read this with added interest. The Journal of Periodontology recently revealed that men with periodontal disease (gum disease) are 7 times more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction than those who do not.
The harmful bacteria that enters the blood stream through unhealthy gums is understood to cause damage to blood vessels via inflammation. Since it can travel through the blood stream throughout the body, it can potentially cause damage to the vessels that supply the penis with blood!
4. Floss to live longer – Flossing really does add years to your life expectancy. How so? Well, when gums are inflamed (prevented by flossing), they become populated with bacteria. As mentioned before, if this bacteria gets into the blood stream, it causes an inflammatory response in the body.
The inflammation also occurs in the arteries and opens up a whole gamut of possible medical complications – from a full blown stroke to coronary heart disease. In fact an analysis of 4 separate studies at the University of Hiroshima in Japan revealed that those with 24 or less teeth have a 57% higher risk of suffering a stroke than those with 25 or more teeth. Scary isn’t it?
While flossing alone won’t guarantee that you’ll live longer or that you’ll never suffer from heart disease, it is definitely a major contributing factor to your overall health and longevity and should thus be incorporated into your dental care regimen.
5. Floss for a better memory – An interesting study at the University of Kentucky was published in 2010. The study’s subjects were people between 75 and 90 years of age. They were put through a test where they would be required to recall a series of 10 words which they had been given 5 minutes before. The subjects had similar backgrounds with regards to education. This was repeated over a three year period and the results were interesting to say the least.
The study showed that the subjects with fewer teeth scored lower marks than those with more teeth in the initial test. Not only that, their scores declined much more sharply in the consecutive tests.
It is surprising that an activity as unassuming as flossing can prevent a whole host of problems and increase the likelihood of good, vibrant health. It is important to incorporate flossing into your daily dental care regimen.
Sadly, not many people floss. The true statistics of flossing are difficult to accurately measure. It is believed around 12% of Americans and roughly 22% of Brits floss daily. However, some dental experts believe the true figure is actually closer to 5%.
Regardless of the statistics, flossing can be easily incorporated into your daily regimen and it is surprisingly easy to do. Unfortunately, as our Arlington, Texas dentist office sees all too common, it is just as easy not to.