Current Moon Phase

Waning Crescent
4% of full

Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Floss for a Healthy Heart!

Floss for a Healthy Heart!

We’ve heard it time and time again from our dentists or hygienists: floss daily for healthy teeth and gums. But if you need more incentive than a scolding every six months, consider recent studies that show a connection between oral health and heart health.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease. In fact, one study found that the presence of common problems in the mouth, including gum disease (gingivitis), cavities, and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.

While we use the word plaque to describe the stuff the hygienist scrapes off your teeth and the deposits that clog arteries and cause heart attack or stroke, the two are completely unrelated. So what could the connection be?

One suspect getting a lot of attention is inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s defense mechanism against infection and often includes swelling. It’s possible bacteria from the mouth travel through the body causing blood cells to swell. This swelling could narrow an artery and increase the risk of clots, leading to heart attack or stroke.

This possible connection between the body’s response to bacteria in one area, like between the teeth, and problems in another part of the body, like the heart, adds to data researchers have gathered that suggests more and more diseases, including periodontal disease, heart disease, and arthritis, are partially caused by the body’s own inflammatory response. Preventing the growth of bacteria between your teeth through flossing could then cut the risk of inflammation elsewhere in the body.

If that’s not enough to get you reaching for the floss, research has also emerged suggesting a relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes. And that relationship may go both ways — gum disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar, and people with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes, probably because diabetics are more susceptible to contracting infections.

If you already have certain health concerns, flossing may help protect you from further complications. If you are fit as a fiddle, flossing regularly is a habit that can help keep you in tune.

While we may not know exactly how flossing relates to overall health, you really have nothing to lose by running some minty string between your teeth every morning. You may not be guaranteed perfect health, but you will get a pat on the back from your dentist, and I’ll take that over a scolding any day.


1 Jessa Lynn { 03.22.12 at 2:08 pm }

I floss every day nah nah :)

2 Colette Wilber { 03.21.12 at 4:43 pm }

That would be what I would think as well. I notice the opt word is could and may cause.

3 Aliza { 03.21.12 at 12:23 pm }

could it be that people who do not take care of their gums are also careless about their diet? and that is why people with gum disease are prone to other diseases as well?

Leave a Comment

Note: Comments that further the discussion of the above content are likely to be approved. Those comments that are vague or are simply submitted in order to promote a product, service or web site, although not necessarily considered "spam," are generally not approved.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.