Want to Live Longer? Floss Your Teeth

by | Jul 7, 2022 | Issue 151, Issues | 0 comments

Do you believe that toothbrushing and scheduled dental visits are enough for proper dental care? Both your dentist and the American Dental Association might think otherwise and recommend including...

Do you believe that toothbrushing and scheduled dental visits are enough for proper dental care? Both your dentist and the American Dental Association might think otherwise and recommend including flossing in your oral care regimen because flossing can keep not only your teeth but your entire body healthy as well.

Flossing and Longevity

According to a published study, researchers have found a significant link between longevity and a comprehensive oral care regimen. The said study covered older adults between the age of 52 to 105 years old, with a median of 81 years old. It was done to measure the connection between oral health and mortality. 

The researchers found significant links between oral hygiene and mortality. Those who never brushed their teeth at night had a 20%-35% increased mortality risk. People who did not visit their dentist in the last 12 months increased their mortality risk by 30%-50%, and those who never flossed their teeth increased their mortality risk by 30%. The same study found that the number of missing teeth was correlated with mortality risk.

Tooth Loss and Mortality Rate

Our oral health has always been a dependable indicator of how well our entire body is doing. A study on tooth loss and mortality found that people who had 20 or more teeth at the age of 70 had a significantly better chance of surviving longer than those with less than 20 teeth. Gum disease or poor oral health are regularly linked to a wide range of general health such as heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, dementia and pregnancy issues. 

Gum Disease Can Contribute to Heart Disease 

Flossing, along with brushing, prevents two interconnected diseases: gum disease and heart disease. The absence of flossing can onset gum inflammation, which, in turn, facilitates the occurrence of a chronic bacterial infection in your mouth. The bacteria in your mouth can descend into your arteries—the more bacteria attack your respiratory system, the more your arteries will become inflamed and narrow. The situation will impede your heart’s proper function and facilitate heart disease.

Gum Disease and Diabetes

Diabetes management is a lifelong commitment, and good dental care is an integral part of that. A person with diabetes is less capable of fighting bacteria in the oral cavity.

If you are a diabetic person, dental care matters. People with type I and type II diabetes already have a substantially higher risk of dental problems than those who do not. This is because elevated blood sugar levels generate sugary saliva, which increases plaque production and the risk of tooth decay. When you add in a lack of flossing, you’ve got yourself a recipe for severe gum disease.

Unfortunately, diabetic patients have poor wound healing, making it more difficult to recover from gum disease and its complications. Over time, this might result in abscesses, fungal infections and tooth loss.

Is It Better to Floss Before or After Brushing?

The crucial aspect of cleaning between your teeth is consistency. It doesn’t matter when you floss your teeth as long as you do it thoroughly. Allot some time early in the morning or at night before going to bed to floss your teeth before or after you brush your teeth.

A Parting Reminder

It’s never too late to start caring for your teeth. Making positive adjustments in our oral health can help us delay the decline of our health as we age. 

Taking appropriate care of our teeth can help us avoid oral health diseases that are linked to other health problems.

Ann Y

Ann Y