Flossing your teeth can sometimes feel like a chore, but it’s an important part of dental hygiene. It's also important for your heart health.
There are a lot of studies that show the connection between gum disease and heart health.
“And there’s really a very strong association between the two, where patients that have periodontal disease, they’re at a much greater risk for having heart disease, stroke, other issues like that," Dr. Sasha Ross, a Periodontist with Cleveland Clinic, said.
She said the association could be, in part, because of gum disease leading to inflammation and bacteria in the heart. Dr. Ross said the risk depends on the person; she’s had some people who barely floss or brush and have no problems, but others who've had the smallest amount of plaque having major complications.
She said they can tell when someone isn’t flossing — that person may have bleeding or swollen gums, loose teeth, lots of plaque build up, cavities, bad breath, or gum recession.
“I think a lot of people are never taught how to properly floss and what kind of floss to use, so at one of these visits we can work with you and show you how to do it. And then just make it part of your daily routine. I say it’s really good to floss once a day, so ideally you do it at night before you go to bed," Dr. Ross said.
She said other products — like Water Piks and specialized brushes — may help if you have trouble flossing.