Most everyone knows that a daily flossing helps promote healthy teeth and gums, but that may be just the tip of the iceberg. Research suggests that there’s a link between flossing and heart disease, meaning that your daily flossing ritual may do a lot more than protect your pearly whites.
Without regular flossing, your whole mouth can really suffer. A soft, sticky bacterial film (plaque) begins to accumulate on neglected teeth, especially below the gum line. Eventually, the acids in this plaque begin to destroy the outer enamel of teeth. Gums may become irritated and bleed. Breath may start to smell bad. And after a while, the plaque hardens into crusty yellow or brown deposits -- called tartar -- that make it even easier for more plaque to build up. Eventually, lack of flossing can lead to gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth loss.
As if that weren't reason enough to floss, now research suggests that regular flossing may affect more than the health of your mouth.
To the extent that good oral hygiene reduces plaque, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and the accompanying inflammatory processes, proper oral hygiene may in turn improve insulin sensitivity of liver and muscle cells and reduce blood sugar levels and the need for insulin.
More and more research is pointing to ties between oral health and overall health. Even when taking into consideration other bad health habits, such as smoking or excessive drinking, studies have still shown a strong link between periodontal disease and other diseases. Short of a visit to the dentist, no other oral healthcare habit alone has the same ability to remove plaque between teeth and below your gum line. Being aware of the connection between flossing and heart disease, as well as diabetes, gives you one more opportunity to achieve premium wellness.
To help fight gum disease and heart disease in one fell swoop, use these tips to get the most out of that little white string: