Society today is all about longevity; how to add weeks, months and better yet, years to your life. Doctors tell you to exercise, magazines tell you which foods to eat and research tells you to floss…wait, what?
That’s right, people. Recent studies have linked gum disease and heart disease. What exactly that link is has yet to be determined, but there is definitely a connection. One study found that people were almost twice as likely to suffer from heart disease if they had gum disease.
Regular flossing is necessary to prevent plaque build-up between teeth and below the gum line. Plaque is a soft, sticky deposit of food particles, acid and bacteria. When plaque is left untreated it will lead to gum disease, symptoms of which include inflamed and bleeding gums.
Researchers have two theories: When gums are bleeding bacteria can get into the bloodstream and stick to artery plaques in the heart which cause blockages; or, experts believe it may be that when the infected bacteria from the mouth gets into the bloodstream, the blood cells swell (natural defense mechanism against infected bacteria) and the swollen cells narrow the artery increasing the chance of a clot.
Although these theories are not yet proven, the connection between oral health and heart disease is none the less there. Flossing daily is necessary for good oral health; the possibility that it may also protect your heart is just another reason to keep up the good work.