Three Important Health Benefits of Flossing
Learn why maintaining a good flossing routine is important for your overall health, not just your dental health.
As experienced dentists, we at California Dental Group know first hand from our patients that very few individuals actually enjoy flossing. Many patients do floss daily because they know it is very important for their dental health. Unfortunately, many others don’t. Research has shown that 31 percent of Americans only floss on a semi-regular basis, and 18 percent don’t floss at all.
As a holistic dental practice, we are eager to educate our patients on how their oral hygiene and dental care affects their body as a whole. Here are three important health benefits of flossing every day that will hopefully inspire you to become a better flosser.
Diabetes and gum disease have a self-reinforcing relationship. If you have diabetes, you will already be at an increased risk of oral infections and gum disease. If you don’t floss, your diabetes will become harder to control, which could make your gum disease worse. This cycle occurs due to the fact that infections cause insulin resistance which disrupts blood sugar control. Regardless of whether or not you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is wise to floss daily so that you can avoid blood sugar control issues.
Research has suggested that oral bacteria can actually cause inflammation throughout the body, including in the arteries. In particular, the bacteria associated with gingivitis or gum disease has been shown to have a role in the development of carotid artery plaques, clogged arteries, and blood clots. If your poor oral hygiene results in tooth loss, your risk of heart attack or stroke will only increase—one study found that 60 percent of patients who had lost 10 or more teeth had carotid artery plaque.
There is a strong association between Alzheimer’s disease and gum disease. In particular, one study found that a specific gum disease bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis, was present in the brains of individuals suffering from dementia due to Alzheimer’s. Again, losing teeth seems to increase the risk of a negative health consequence, as experts believe bacteria from the mouth is more likely to make its way to the brain when an extraction or other invasive dental treatment allows the bacteria access to the bloodstream.
So, in short, we strongly urge you to floss more for the sake of your own health and well-being. If you haven’t been flossing, please come to California Dental Group for a thorough dental cleaning and exam and to get a refresher course on proper flossing technique.