As times become stressful, we cannot afford to take our health for granted. Whole industries sell billions of dollars of products designed to make marginal improvements in our immune system, or to add a few more good years to our lives. But one of the cheapest and most sure-fired lifelines is also one of the finest: dental floss.
For years, (ever since 1815, when Dr. Levi Spear Parmly developed silk floss in New Orleans) dentists have been telling us to floss, as part of our oral hygiene routine.
As kids, they taught us to “only floss the teeth you want to keep”. But still between 60 and 90% of adults do not floss daily. As long as we keep our teeth cavity free, we tend to endure the flossing that is done by the hygienist at each dental visit, then ignore this step once back into the home routine.
Well, if preventing cavities, gum disease, and halitosis is not enough reason to mobilize the floss, then how about reducing your chances of cancer and heart disease, and adding two to six years to your life expectancy? Sounds like a claim even vitamin makers would like to make! Let’s take a look at some of the latest evidence on heart disease and longevity.
There is a strong connection between teeth and the heart. For decades doctors have advised patients with heart disease to have antibiotic coverage when having dental work done. This is because dental tools working around the gums can easily cause bleeding, and this allows strep and other bacteria to enter directly into the blood stream, causing systemic complications. For example, if you had an abnormal heart valve, these bacteria could settle into these tissues, and cause dangerous consequences.
That’s not to say the mouth is supposed to be sterile. In fact the mouth is full of bacteria and funge, living in balance with each other as normal flora. Normally, these are flushed daily with foods and saliva, and never get out of balance. Very much like the flat tile surfaces in the shower. However, between the teeth, like between the tiles, this self-cleaning mechanism is compromised. That’s why grunge grows in the cracks between tiles, and why danger lurks in the spaces between teeth. (This is especially bad with sticky or sweet junk foods). Thus flossing these crevasses will improve your oral health today, and will actually improve your general health in the future.
As an added bonus, a thorough flossing leaves one without the same urge for a midnight snack. It seems a waste to mess up the clean teeth so soon after the flossing!
So along with a good routine of diet and exercise, here is one time you can enjoy the white stuff. Try flossing, and get more smiles per mile!
For good technique of flossing [read article…]