Why Flossing Could Save Your Life

July 18th, 2010 by Adam

It's good for you

It's good for you

Most people don’t think heart attack when they hear the words gum disease, yet the overwhelming majority of scientific studies show a clear link between the two. As if this weren’t sobering enough, reports also show a connection to other serious conditions like diabetes, stroke and cancer. Studies presented in 1997 to the American Association for the Advancement of Science suggest that the bacteria found in Gum Disease may be the culprit, causing blood clots, eventually leading to heart attack or stroke. In fact, statistics show that up to 75% of adults over the age of 30 may already be affected by gum disease to some extent. It’s been said, that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but it should also be noted that what goes to the stomach starts in the mouth and the mouth is in fact one of the keys to heart health.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) was responsible for more than 425,000 American deaths in 2006 and remains the leading cause of death worldwide. Even though Gum Disease can go undetected for extended periods, the disease isn’t entirely without symptoms and can include red, swollen or bleeding gums, persistent bad breath or a foul taste in the mouth. And left untreated, can result in the loss of bone and connective tissue that support the teeth.

It’s been said many times that the “Eyes are the window to one’s soul, but the mouth is a good indicator of what’s going on in a person’s overall systemic health.” Dr. Homing Kim, D.D.S._Periodontist_Lexington, KY_

How Does One Develop Gum Disease?
Although plaque is usually named as the reason for gum disease, it’s really only a symptom of a much more complex process. Stress, poor diet and oral hygiene are certainly key factors when it comes to developing the disease. High levels of stress activate the stress managing hormone Cortisol in the body and when sustained for long periods of time, can wear out the adrenal glands. This process has a negative effect on the immune system which ultimately will impact oral health.

The good news however, is that many cases can be reversed when diligent plaque control is practiced; consisting of professional cleanings twice a year along with daily brushing and flossing. Treatments range from nonsurgical therapies that control bacteria to surgery that restores supportive tissues. What treatments are used can depend on factors like overall health and the progression of the disease.

“Healthcare professionals and patients should focus more time, energy, and effort on prevention (working on the cause), more so than the effect (aftermath).” Dr. Homing Kim, D.D.S._ Periodontist_Lexington, KY

A Solid Investment
Unfortunately, preventing gum disease doesn’t consist of one singular precaution, but takes a cognitive effort in the following areas: proper oral hygiene, well balanced diet, reducing stress and eliminating bad habits like smoking. As for Dr. Kim, he takes more of a personal approach to treating patients; “With proper education and motivation, we treat the whole person and promote comprehensive dentistry in conjunction with their general dentist. This yields optimal oral health, which in turn contributes to the overall systemic health”. Who would’ve guessed that what happens inside the mouth could have such a devastating effect on the rest of the body? One thing’s for sure, investing in oral health goes a lot farther than one might think in the overall condition of your physical body.

This article was sponsored by Homing Kim, D.D.S. - 166 Prosperous Place, Suite 100 Lexington, KY 40509


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