Dr. Jeff's Diary

My Passion for Dentistry

“Flossing can save your life!”

I’m dead serious… Don’t believe me? Read on!

Almost every week, patients lie to me about how much they floss (this also goes for brushing which is just as important and necessary as flossing). And this week was no exception. My patients think I can’t tell the difference between flossed and un-flossed teeth; I guess they forgot that it’s my job.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand what a hassle and frustration it is to floss. The whole process is annoying and uncomfortable and I can see how people can wonder what the point of flossing is. Well, as stated in the title of this blog, it can literally save your life.

By flossing, you can avoid periodontal gum disease (link). By avoiding gum disease you can avoid tooth loss, and by avoiding tooth loss, you can avoid heart disease and strokes.

According to a new Japanese study, “Tooth loss increases the risk of a stroke many years later, and underlying gum disease may be to blame. Researchers have calculated that those with fewer than 24 of their own teeth (adults should have 32) are 60 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke.

Stroke is caused by a disturbance of blood supply to the brain.”

Learn how to floss properly by watching this video

If this isn’t enough to convince you:

“Research into heart disease has shown that micro-organisms associated with gum disease have been found in Atheromas  –  accumulation of calcified material  –  in the arteries of patients. It has been suggested that toxins in these micro-organisms damage cells in the lining of the arteries.

One theory is that periodontal disease may cause inflammation in the arteries and brain tissues, and cause greater amounts of compounds involved in clotting.

Dr Sharlin Ahmed of The Stroke Association says: ‘It is believed that oral bacteria can contribute to the furring up and narrowing of artery walls, which could result in a stroke. Oral bacteria could also attach to fatty deposits in the arteries, which can lead to a blood clot and could result in a stroke.’ “

Flossing is not just important from a life-saving point of view, but also from an aesthetic and hygienic one. Flossing makes the appearance of your teeth look better, makes your breath smell sweeter, and makes our job cleaning your teeth easier and less painful for you. So we mean it when we say floss your teeth… Doctor’s orders!

Cheers :)

Dr. Jeff

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