HealthONE - June 22, 2018

You already know that flossing leads to healthy teeth and gums, but you may be surprised to learn about the connection between flossing and heart health. In fact, research suggests a strong correlation between oral health and heart disease. See how you can protect your heart and reduce the chance of cardiovascular disease – now that’s something to smile about.

Get Healthy Teeth
Your mouth is vital to your overall health, and it all starts with flossing. Flossing helps remove a sticky film that contains bacteria called plaque. Without proper oral hygiene, plaque can coat your teeth and accumulate below the gum line. Over time, plaque hardens and becomes difficult to remove, which can damage teeth and gums, cause bad breath and lead to tooth decay – or tooth loss. A serious gum infection, periodontitis can damage gums and even destroy the jawbone. Fortunately, regular brushing and flossing can help prevent plaque buildup and other negative consequences. 

Protect Your Heart
Along with the impact on healthy teeth and gums, new research suggests that flossing also correlates to cardiology. A recent study shows people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease. Such a strong link between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease makes the simple task of flossing a no-brainer for a healthy heart.

Safeguard Arteries
Healthy teeth may also reduce your risk of clogged arteries. The link between oral and cardiovascular health, inflammation can lead to both gum disease and obstructive arterial plaque. Researchers also think that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and contribute to damaging systemic inflammation.

Reduce Diabetes Risk
Along with risks to your teeth, gums and jawbone, periodontitis can actually make insulin resistance worse. When your body needs more insulin to grab blood sugar from the bloodstream, it can lead to type 2 diabetes. Having healthy teeth can reduce plaque, gum disease, periodontitis and the accompanying inflammation. It can also improve liver and muscle insulin sensitivity to reduce blood sugar levels – and the need for insulin.

Don’t Forget to Smile
Take full advantage of the benefits of flossing with these simple tips to keep your teeth – and your heart – healthy.

  • Wrap floss around each tooth and reach just below the gum line.
  • Floss gently to avoid damaging gums. Bleeding gums will improve over time with regular flossing.
  • Use a fresh area of floss in between each individual tooth.
  • If string floss is difficult to use, try floss picks or holders.

Schedule a cardiology appointment today.