Over the course of my career as a dental hygienist, I constantly hear from patients that they don’t enjoy flossing. I tell them I don’t care what you use between your teeth as long as you use something! I realize flossing isn’t everyone’s favorite activity but research has suggested a link between oral and heart health. When your mouth is healthy, so is your heart.
In people with periodontal disease, brushing can release bacteria into the bloodstream. It’s also possible that inflammation in the mouth can lead to inflammation throughout the body including hardened arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that makes it hard for blood to flow to the heart. This condition is a serious concern and puts you at greater risk for heart attacks and strokes. If you’re curious to learn more you can find additional information at http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/heart-disease-oral-health.
Even if you haven’t been an avid flosser, it’s never too late to start! I have always preferred using Listerine Woven floss because it gets out so much food and plaque caught in between my teeth. I enjoy hearing that squeaky noise as I floss my teeth because it means I’m disrupting the colonization of bacteria.
Below are three additional interdental tools that will also help remove food and bacteria:
- Soft picks – They come in two sizes, original and wider spaces. I like them because they fit so easily in your purse and they are perfect for life on the go!
- Gum Proxabrush– comes in a variety of sizes (ultra-tight, tight, moderate, severe). These are great for people who have wide spaces between their teeth and get that extra impacted food that floss just won’t reach.
- Floss holders – Although not my preferred first choice because adaptability around the tooth is limited, but they are a wonderful tool for children and believe or not, men with large hands.
I hope these help give you some other ideas to help keep your gums healthy! If you are wondering which tool might be best for your mouth ask me at your next appointment.
Tiffany Washburn, RDH