Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Heart disease and oral health

For all my talk about living a heart healthy lifestyle there is one component that I overlook every single day. Any guesses? The answer is a little embarrassing... FLOSSING! I brush at least twice a day and I waterpic several times a week but flossing is such a chore. (Especially for someone with a permanent retainer cemented to the back of my lower front teeth.) My excuses are the same everyday: in the morning I'm too rushed to get to work and in the evening I'm much too tired and just want to get to bed. 

My laziness wouldn't be a problem if I wasn't showing early signs of gum disease - but I am. It is most likely a symptom of taking over a decade's worth of oral contraceptives - but regardless of what is causing it it is something I need to get under control. 

The dental hygenist had a suggestion: don't wait until bedtime - instead make it a habit to floss immediately after lunch or dinner. I'm taking her advice to heart. I've been able to change my eating habits, lower my blood pressure, lose almost 20lbs and make exercise a routine part of my week - daily flossing is just the next step in living a truly heart healthy life. I can do it!

• Those with adult gum disease may have increased risk of stroke
• Bacteria from the mouth may cause clotting problems in the cardiovascular system that lead to an increased risk of a fatal heart attack. 
•People with type II diabetes are three times as likely to develop gum disease then are nondiabetics.


  1. yep....one needs to brush, floss, waterpik, and gargle with that blue stuf everyday. At the age of 62 my dentist told me my gums were perfect - not always that way, but the process go through every morning has helped even more than I thought it could. I was told I only need to go see the dentist once a year.

  2. I use Super Floss, which is the only way I've found to floss below the lower retainer that I also have along with one between my top two front teeth. You can buy it at any pharmacy and it basically is a strong floss at the end with a cushy floss in the middle so that you can thread it through your retainer. I just found it here and it's a lifesaver for plaque!

    1. I'll look for that! Thanks for the tip. I've been good and flossed every day (except one). But I should admit that I've completely SKIPPED the bottom front teeth because I can't get to them. Tomorrow is payday - I'll buy myself some fancy new floss then!

  3. Last month when I consulted with a dentist in Colorado Springs he also told me that tooth infection can spread to other parts of our body through blood stream. It is observed that people who have been suffering from gum disease are at a higher risk of heart attack. Gum disease triggers clot formation into blood which decrease the blood flow to the heart and increase the risk of heart attack. Thanks for your nice and informative post.