Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Flossing Isn't Just For Teeth! It Can Lead to a Healthier Body!

You've all been to the dentists office and seen the funny quips and quotes that are hanging around in various locations; (The personal choice of my own dentist is the ceiling.  That's right, he doesn't want us to miss a thing.).  The one that sticks in my mind the most is a poster that says: "You don't have to floss all of your teeth, just the ones you want to keep!"  Funny, but oh, so accurate.  I'm about to point out a list of some health problems that you may never have thought could be linked to gum disease.  Some of these surprised even me, and I'm well versed in the dental industry, as I have worked in it for 24 years.

The first, and probably most surprising to me, is the apparent link they have found to gum disease/loss of teeth to Alzheimer's disease and Dementia.  Who knew? Studies have proven that there is a correlation between loss of teeth and loss of memory.  Well, gum disease left untreated leads to loss of teeth.  It makes perfect sense, but still, that's a hard one to wrap your brain around.  This would be #1 on my "reason to floss everyday" list.

Next up would be lung disease. How is that possible, you ask?  Well, there are approximately 700 strains of bacteria found in the mouth that can cause gum disease, which leads to inflammation in other parts of the body.  It's a safe bet that those bacteria will not all stay put in the mouth....that is, we inhale and we swallow and well, there you have it.  It's interesting to note that people who need to be on ventilators for extended periods can contract a specific type of pneumonia from those types of bacteria.

Next, young mothers, take care of your teeth!  Gingivitis and tooth decay can lead to miscarriage and premature birth.  Not trying to scare you....but at least brush and floss 2 or 3 times per day and visit your dentist early on in your pregnancy. There is an old wives tale that foretells that a woman will lose a tooth for every child she bears.  Well, I can't speak to the validity of that, but why take a risk?

Lastly, most of us know that heart disease, stroke and blood clots have been linked to bad teeth and gum disease.  Inflammation of the gums can travel through the bloodstream!  That has been a well proven fact for years and years.

So often, people just don't realize the danger of untreated gum disease. They don't consider that the mouth is connected to the rest of the body. Many aren't aware that they even have gum disease.  It's estimated that  anywhere between 50 to 90% of the adult population (the higher percentage being in certain geographical areas) have some level of it.  Here is a parting statement: Brushing alone does not remove plaque build-up between teeth and under the gum line.  Only flossing will do that!  

Keep Flossing, and Keep Smiling! 

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