Can Flossing Save Your Life?

dental flossingTIME Magazine (11/5/2014) lists “16 Unexpected Ways to Add Years to Your Life”.  One of those ways is as simple as flossing as recommended by the American Dental Association and your dentist.

Flossing on a daily basis not only removes food caught between your teeth and prevents bad breath; it also removes the bacteria before it hardens into plaque.   Through a complex biochemical chain of events, bacterial plaque colonize below the gum line and create inflammation around the teeth.   Gingivitis is, by definition, reddened and inflamed gums that easily bleed.   Left untreated, gingivitis leads to periodontal disease.   Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation of the bone and tissues that support the teeth. The bacterial toxins in plaque cause irreversible changes to the gums and bone that support the teeth.  It is not uncommon for one to loose teeth as the bone around the teeth shrink away in response to the inflammation caused by bacterial toxins.

Your mouth is a gateway to the entire body.  If periodontal disease is left untreated, bacteria and toxins that cause periodontal disease stimulate the liver to produce high levels of C-reactive proteins (CRP) that then circulate through the blood stream.  Studies show high levels of CRPs in the blood stream in response to acute injury, infection, and inflammation.  Although the link is multifactorial, levels of CRP in the blood stream common to periodontal disease make an individual two to four times more likely to suffer heart attack, stroke, increase the chances of diabetes, and even low birth rate children.   Studies also show a link between CRP with pancreatic and kidney cancer.    “Periodontal disease needs to be considered as a major contributor to increased levels of CRP by the medical community” says Dr. Steven Offenburger of the American Academy of Periodontology.

Want to live longer?  Use your floss for more than an emergency repair of a broken shoe lace!  Good oral habits such as brushing, flossing and regular professional visits to your dentist will improve and increase your oral health.   The science is now irrefutable – good oral health leads to overall health!

Callahan Dental – Sterling Dentist
Drs. Paul W. Callahan & Karen M. Callahan, DDS – Sterling, VA Dentists
The Lakeside Building at CountrySide
14 Pidgeon Hill Drive – Suite 200
Sterling, VA 20165