How Flossing Your Teeth Can Save Your Life

person flossing to prevent health issues

Flossing is often overlooked by many individuals, with only around 31.6% of American adults practicing daily flossing and a significant 31.9% neglecting regular flossing altogether. However, it is crucial to recognize that flossing plays a pivotal role in preserving optimal oral health. By delving into the importance of flossing and its potential life-saving benefits, you can gain a deeper understanding of its significance in preventing issues and how it may even save your life.



Why Flossing Is Important

Plaque, a sticky film composed of bacteria, develops on the teeth. Failure to remove plaque allows it to erode the tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities. Despite regular brushing, certain areas of your mouth remain inaccessible without the use of dental floss.


Incorporating daily flossing into your oral hygiene routine can effectively eliminate approximately 40% of the plaque residing on your teeth, significantly reducing the risk of tooth decay. Neglecting to remove plaque from between your teeth through flossing can result in unpleasant breath, decay, and potentially lead to gum disease.


How Gum Disease Can Affect the Body

Irregular flossing and the subsequent development of gum disease can have adverse implications for your overall health. Left untreated, gum disease can worsen existing health conditions, some of which may pose a life-threatening risk. Several common diseases associated with gum disease include:

  • Respiratory disease – The presence of oral bacteria can migrate to various parts of the body, including the lungs. This can potentially result in infections such as pneumonia, causing breathing difficulties and potentially allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream.
  • Cancer – Research indicates a compelling connection between individuals with a history of gum disease and their increased likelihood of developing gastric (stomach) cancer by 52% and esophageal cancer by 43% compared to those with healthy gums. Additionally, gum disease has been associated with an elevated risk of kidney, blood, and pancreatic cancer.
  • Diabetes – Gum disease and diabetes have a mutually detrimental relationship. Severe gum disease can elevate blood sugar levels, making it challenging to manage diabetes effectively. Elevated blood sugar weakens the immune system, making it harder for the body to combat infections, including gum disease.
  • Heart disease – The occurrence of gum disease triggers inflammation, which prompts the release of immune cells. While this initially aids in the healing process, chronic inflammation is a significant factor in the development of health issues such as heart disease.
  • Pregnancy complications – Gum infection poses risks for both the mother and the baby during pregnancy. When bacteria enter the bloodstream, it can potentially lead to complications such as low birth weight and preterm labor. It is crucial to prioritize oral health during pregnancy to minimize these risks.


About the Practice

Dr. Julie Young and her talented team of oral health professionals serve the residents of Corte Madera, Strawberry, Larkspur, Paradise Cay, Mill Valley, and Marin County in their comfortable, inviting dental office. That’s why they have gone out of their way to make their office an inviting place for patients of all ages. They strive to teach patients how to better care for their teeth so they can keep cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues at bay. Visit Dr. Julie Young‘s website or call her office at (415) 924-5300 for more information on their teeth whitening services or to schedule an appointment.