Flossing: Good for the Heart, Good for the Soul.
I’ve always had an exceptional relationship with my dental hygienist. We have known each other for years, and somehow, even with her hands in my mouth throughout my hour-long twice-yearly appointments, we have just the best conversations. Sadly, although we are on the best of terms in most respects, it took me a long time to open up about my flossing habits.
I’m not sure why I lied to her for so long. It’s not like she couldn’t tell that I never flossed. Not never of course. I flossed a few times in the months between our visits. I blame the permanent retainer that’s been glued to the back of my bottom front teeth for the last ten years. I mean, really. Who has the time?
Finally about two years ago, when Sue asked me how often I flossed, I just started telling the truth: hardly ever. Not enough to really make a difference. I stop at the first sight of blood. I really can’t be bothered.
This went on for some time, and I took my blasé attitude toward the health of the spaces between my teeth with me overseas. It was in coming back to the US that I finally made a change. I hadn’t been to see Sue in over a year and she more than made up for lost time in both the quality of our conversation and the quality of the cleaning.
While transitioning back into life in the US I was turning over a new leaf, and if there’s one thing I love, it’s having a goal. And so ever since my last cleaning in mid-September, I have flossed approximately nine out of every ten days. And (not) surprisingly, it’s making a huge difference.
Improving my own dental health is fine, but I want to give back. And so I’m traveling around the country spreading the love. By that of course I mean I stayed with three different friends in the Midwest in October/November and each one of them flossed with me at one point or another during my visit.
And the news just keeps getting better. In addition to making your teeth rot, dental bacteria can get into your blood stream and increase the risk of heart disease. Flossing improves gum health, decreasing the incidence of gum disease and based on recent evidence, the risk of heart disease.
So grab a friend and floss your teeth. Your hygienist will thank you, and your heart will too.
This post is dedicated to Allison and Sue, my favorite oral health enthusiasts.