How does flossing help in keeping your heart healthy?

Written by Dr. Apurva Chavan

September 28, 2020

Dentists often say – ‘ You don’t have to floss all your teeth, just the once you want to keep.’ This is because flossing is a very important but often ignored part of your oral care routine. It is even more important for people suffering from heart conditions.

Heart and dental health link

Studies have shown how taking care of your dental hygiene and keeping your mouth 100% free from bad bacteria can improve your gum health and subsequently reduce all your dental problems in the future. 

  • Researchers prove how a good oral hygiene and good gum care can improve and reduce the chances of future heart attacks.
  • Gum diseases and infections like gingivitis and periodontitis are associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease.
  • Poor oral hygiene increases the risk of a bacterial infection in the blood stream, which can affect the heart valves. Oral health may be particularly important if you have artificial heart valves.
  • Recent studies also show there is some connection between missing tooth patterns and coronary artery disease. 
  • There is a strong connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease and evidence that people with diabetes benefit from periodontal treatment.

Researches and studies are not just limited the link of gum diseases to heart diseases, but also rheumatoid arthritis and pancreatic cancer. There is more such evidence to why oral hygiene is so important to prevent the risk of future health related diseases.

Why is flossing important for you?

A toothbrush does only half the work of keeping your teeth clean as it cannot reach between your teeth. This is where most of the food gets stuck and causes problems like bad smell, cavities and gum damage. The accumulated food, then calcifies and turns into tartar or calculus. This can only be cleaned by a dentist.

Plaque and calculus are the reasons why gum and dental problems occur at all. Preventing them from accumulating will solve it all. Flossing will also help keep the gums between the teeth healthy and prevent gum infections like gingivitis and periodontitis. That is why using flossing is important and even more so for heart patients.

Floss your teeth for a healthy heart

Brushing protects your teeth and flossing protects your gums. If you’re a heart patient and you don’t floss regularly, the food remains stuck in between their teeth. This attracts a lot of bad bacteria which damage your gums. These bacteria then enter your blood through the damaged gums. Finally, they reach your heart through the blood stream and cause disease like infective endocarditis.

Infective endocarditis is an infection of the heart, which can damage your heart tissues and worsen your existing heart conditions. This can lead to stroke and even a heart attack.

How to floss correctly?

Next time you visit your dentist don’t forget to ask them to show you how to floss. Here are some tips to help you floss better

  • Try a use waxed floss as it is easier to slide.
  • Use sliding movements to slide the food out. Don’t thrust or forcibly push the floss in between your teeth. This will only cause your gums to bleed.
  • Be gentle and patient. It takes a little time to get a hang of it, but once you get used to it you’ll love the fresh clean feeling.

Flossing Tips

If you are having difficulty using a floss thread, you can use a flosspicks as they are more convenient to use and 

Floss picks are small disposable devices with a toothpick like point at one end and a floss at the other end.

Interdental brushes are small brushes that can clean between your teeth and are usually recommended in patients with periodontal diseases.

A Water jet flosser is an instrument that shoots out water to clean your interdental areas. A Water Flosser is usually recommended for heart patients as it is easier to use with excellent cleaning abilities.

So brush your teeth regularly and floss like a boss to protect not just your teeth but heart as well.

Highlights

  • Flossing is as important as brushing your teeth. Flossing once a day will help keep your mouth 100% bacteria-free.
  • Flossing between your teeth helps keeps your gums healthy eventually reducing the risk of heart problems in the future.
  • Gum health and heart health are related. Hence, healthy gums pave way to a healthy heart.
  • Floss your teeth even if all is well. You might think there is nothing wrong with your teeth and there is no need to take extra care. But if you want your teeth to be healthy even in the near future, then flossing is a must and do follow the 5 steps to good oral hygiene.

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Dr. Apurva Chavan is a dentist by the day and a voracious reader and writer by the night. She loves to fix smiles and tries to keep all her procedures as pain free as possible. Equipped with over 5 years of experience she loves to not just treat her patients but also educate them about dental hygiene and appropriate maintanence routines. After a long day of preserving smiles she loves to curl up with a good book or pen down some of life’s musings. She strongly belives that learning never stops and likes to keep her self updates with all the latest dental news and research.
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