Can Flossing Save Your Life?

dental flossingI am the Chandler dentist, and if you are my patient, you get asked how much you floss at least twice a year. It’s my job as your dentist to get this information.  And yet, I get lied to roughly fifty percent of the time. The majority of those who tell me they are flossing are not.  You don’t have to lie. Your gums are truth-telling.  If you are not flossing or think you can floFlossingss right before seeing me and passing as a dedicated flosser, the jig is up.

In any event, not many people floss once a day. Let’s be real. If you are flossing three times a week, you are in the upper echelon of oral hygiene. If you floss less than that, you have to make a habit of it. Flossing is like anything else. The more you do it, the more efficient you become at doing it.

I tell my patients to attach it to something. If you watch Jeopardy or Sports Center, bust out 18 inches of floss when you hear the theme song and get to work. Attach flossing to one of your daily rituals a few times a week. It will easily become a habit.  It is a small thing you can do for yourself with great long-term results.

When my patients finally make it a habit (trust me, my hygienists and I can tell), they said how easy it is to maintain it. Regular flossing means less time and money spent in my chair, which means you can put your funds towards flossin’ your other grill.

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

Flossing daily 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 colonizes below the gum line and creates inflammation around the teeth.   Gingivitis is, by definition, reddened and inflamed gums that easily bleed. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation of the bone and tissues that support the teeth.   Left untreated, gingivitis leads to complications requiring periodontal disease treatment.   The bacterial toxins in plaque cause irreversible changes to the gums and bones that support the teeth.  It is not uncommon for one to lose teeth as the bone around the teeth shrinks 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 circulate through the bloodstream.  Studies show high levels of CRPs in the bloodstream in response to acute injury, infection, and inflammation.  Although the link is multifactorial, CRP levels in the bloodstream common to periodontal disease make an individual two to four times more likely to suffer a 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 shoelace!  Good oral habits such as brushing, flossing, and regular professional visits to your dentist will improve your oral health.   The science is now irrefutable – good oral health leads to overall health!

 

Chandler dentist, Kelly Jorn Cook, DDS - OG image

Chandler Cosmetic Dentist
Kelly Jorn Cook, DDS
3800 West Ray Road, Suite 19
Chandler
, AZ 85226