Flossing and Your Health
Do you find yourself dusting off your box of floss right before your dental check up? Regular flossing is not just something that makes your hygienist happy but it is an important part of having a happy healthy body.
Flossing is the removal of plaque buildup between your gums and teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. By removing the plaque and its potentially harmful bacteria from your gums you are preventing it from entering your bloodstream.
Gum disease is a common issue for about half of the population. In the past our blog has touched on the affects of gum disease on our heart and diabetic patients. New research was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual convention regarding certain types of gum bacteria and pancreatic cancer.
The strongest connection they found was the bacteria P. gingivalis. The study participants who had this type of bacteria in their gums had a 59% higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer than those without it. Despite this they do not know exactly how P. gingivalis contributes to cancer. However they do know it pries open passages in the gumline, allowing it and other bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Once in your blood, they can travel elsewhere in your body. A recent study published this spring in the journal PLOS ONE showed that Alzheimer’s patients with gum disease experienced six times faster mental decline than those with healthy gums. Another bacteria that can be of concern is T. denticola which can find it’s way to your nerve cells through your jaw. It follows those cells directly up to your brain. There is no known direct link showing these bacteria to cause Alzheimer’s. However, bacteria can cause inflammation, which can damage cells and contribute to the disease.
As scientific research continues to expand our knowledge on the causes of diseases like these it is good for us to be proactive in having a healthy body. One simple way is to reduce the bacteria and inflammation in our mouth by daily flossing and having regular dental check ups. Our dental health is an important aspect in maintaining our overall health.