It’s easy to grasp the importance of regular oral hygiene to avoid mouth based issues like tooth decay and bleeding gums.
But when we stretch the discussion to whether regular flossing can lower our risk of a heart attack, understanding the link can get a bit fuzzy.
After all, where’s the connection between our mouths and our hearts anyway?
As you’ll see by the end of our discussion, having a healthy mouth is a great start toward having a healthy body.
Understanding the mouth/body connection…
In 2006, a team of researchers lead by Steven R. Gundry, M.D., of the International Heart and Lung Institute in Palm Springs, California did a study on 300 people who had moderate risk of heart disease.
The way the researchers determined if the people were at risk of heart disease was by measuring a common biomarker called C reactive protein (CRP).
CRP is a component of our blood that responds to the level of inflammation in the body. Doctors and researchers have found that CRP provides a better gauge of risk of heart disease than other common markers like blood cholesterol.
In the study, the researchers decided to only test what they called ‘lifestyle modification’.
The participants were simply asked to floss their teeth at least every other day.
In other words, researchers didn’t have the participants change the foods they ate or the amount of exercise they did.
Just floss at least every other day.
After 6 months, all 300 people had their C reactive protein levels tested again.
The CRP levels for all 300 participants had dropped under the threshold that made them ‘at risk’ of heart disease!
While that fact alone is awesome, the researchers then gave the world an important piece of information. Researchers instructed the participants to stop flossing.
And when their CRP levels were tested again, guess what?
Everyone’s CRP levels had gone back up into the ‘at risk’ levels.
It’s all about inflammation…
So, what does this tell us about the role of the mouth in the creation or destruction of the health of the whole body?
We all know that gum disease is a global silent epidemic and is the #1 cause of tooth loss in adults.
When the thug bugs implicated with gum disease get established along and under the gum line, the body reacts to this bacterial infection the same way the body responds to any infection, increase inflammation to promote a healing response.
But the problem doesn’t stay in the mouth. After as little as 9 days of exposure, the thug bugs can begin to travel throughout the body via the tiny capillaries in the gum tissue.
This is why we talk so much about whether your gums bleed when flossed.
If you have any ‘bleed points’ (aka gums bleed when flossed), that means that any thug bugs in that pocket have access to the bloodstream. They can and do swim upstream.
The unique area of the gum line…
When our bodies have an infection, fire bells go off and the immune system causes an inflammatory cascade in the area to isolate the infection and to increase the immune system’s ability to provide back up with white blood cells and other immune system defenders.
But in the case of thug bugs and gum disease, their basecamp is effectively ‘outside’ the reach of the immune system. Thug bugs colonize the gum pockets, which is that little pocket between the roots of our teeth and the gum tissue that surrounds each tooth.
In microbiology, the gum pocket is a border land between two worlds.
So thug bugs have access to the whole body via the bloodstream which causes the body to react to the widespread infection causing systemic inflammation, but the inflammatory immune response can’t get to the source of the infection.
This becomes a chronic inflammatory condition.
This chronic systemic inflammatory condition is the stuff that makes a great platform for heart attacks, strokes and so many other breakdowns in health.
Why flossing helps so much…
When thug bugs take up residence in the gum line, they look to build a strong basecamp there in order to build up their numbers to colonize more of the mouth.
Flossing does a great job in disrupting and disorganizing the thug bugs as they try to organize and colonize the gum line.
But remember, regular flossing is crucial to make a difference. If you only floss occasionally, you’ll only be temporarily disrupting the thug bugs attack on the body.
Regular flossing makes it very difficult for thug bugs to colonize the gum line.
Floss at least every other day.
Floss consciously so you notice if you have any bleed points. Here’s a video that explains a little more on why flossing is so important, and here’s a video that explains how to floss without damaging your gums.
If you want to super charge your ability to disrupt and disorganize thug bugs with flossing,
check out this video which demonstrates a very powerful way to reduce the thug bugs in gum pockets.
Ready to take your oral health to new highs? Download our FREE ebook “How to stop tooth decay and remineralize your teeth” today!
Here’s a helpful video to assist you along your path toward conscious flossing.
Helpful, Related Resources:
4 Reasons Why Brushing is So Important (article)
“How Long Should I Brush My Teeth?” (article)
Electric vs Manual Toothbrushes… Which is Better? (article)
How to Create Greater Oral Health for the Whole Family (article)
WHY is flossing such a critically important oral hygiene habit? [video tutorial]
How to floss and NOT damage your gums [video tutorial]