We know that flossing daily helps to prevent gum disease. This fact is well known. What is not so well known is that flossing protects your heart. Flossing your teeth on a daily basis helps to prevent heart disease in two ways. Here they are: flossing your teeth daily helps to keep your gums from becoming inflamed. Inflamed gums are filled with bacteria. That bacteria circulates through your system and ends up in your arteries. The bacteria sort of just sticks there and plaque builds up causing clogged arteries. Also, as an automatic response, your body’s gum inflammation cause an immune response to the inflammation. This automatic defense response may also cause your arteries to narrow. You brush your teeth daily, isn’t that enough? No. Brushing cannot clean under the gum line. Only flossing cleans that area and it is gum disease that may lead to heart disease.
To prevent heart disease you need to floss. Just how many years can you add to your life expectancy by flossing your teeth and caring for your gums? Opinions vary. According to Dr. Michael F. Roizen, in his book Real Age , flossing may add over six years to your lifespan. He says that flossing helps to keep your arteries young because it keeps bacteria that causes inflammation from initiating an immune system response. Inflammation is the result of a tiggered immune system. It is inflammation that causes the swelling in your arteries. The swelling, in turn leads to a higher risk of cardivascular disease.
Other doctors don’t agree on the amount of time that flossing can add to your life. They do agree, however, that flossing does contribute health benefits that relate to longevity. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, states “flossing can add a year to your life – a whole year – just by adding a few minutes to your daily routine.” Doctor Oz who is well known for his television show on ABC, agrees with Dr. Roizen by stating that a six year increase on your life is possible with the addition of a daily oral health care routine which includes flossing.
Whether it is one year or six, the benefits of flossing are great and it only takes minutes to squeeze a flossing routine into your health care habits. Flossing daily helps to keep your teeth white, an added benefit. Follow these guidelines when flossing to add years to your life.
Flossing Guidelines Recommended by The American Dental Association
It does not matter if you use waxed floss, unwaxed, flavored, or spongy floss. These guidelines apply to all floss types as well as electric flossing tools and hand held flossers. You can start from the bottom and work your way to your top teeth or vice versa. Direction does not matter. Flossing daily is what really counts. Flossing around dental work is important. Floss thouroughly but gently.
- Wind 18 inches of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Hold the floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a two inch space in between. Thumbs help to guide the floss through upper teeth.
- Keep the two inch length of floss tight between your fingers. Fingers help to move the floss between the lower teeth and through gum line.
- Gently glide and guide the floss between your teeth by using a criss cross motion. Snapping or harsh pulls on the floss can cause bleeding. Run the floss around the sides of the teeth for thourough cleaning.
- Make sure to slide the floss up and down against the surface of your teeth and under the gum line. Move the length of floss through your fingers as you floss so that you always have a clean piece of floss to clean each tooth.
If you have any questions about how to floss or concerns about your oral health contact us today.