CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Be honest: is flossing really a part of your daily routine?
The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day, and there is research, tying flossing to heart health.
So, does that mean not flossing actually turns into heart disease?
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- Cardiologist Dr. Payal Kohli
- Dr. Sasha Ross, Periodontist for the Cleveland Clinic
- The American Dental Association
- A study published in the National Library of Medicine
WHAT WE FOUND
"There's a lot of studies that have talked about, at least for periodontal disease, the connection between gum disease and heart health," Dr. Ross said. "And there's really a very strong association between the two where patients have gum disease, they're at much greater risk for having heart disease, stroke or other issues."
Dr. Kohli also reiterates that people who have gum disease are at a two to three times higher risk of developing heart disease.
The National Library of Medicine's study shows gum disease is associated with inflammation and bacteria in the heart.
The plaque in the heart and around the heart and the arteries is made up of cholesterol deposits and inflammation, and we sometimes know bacteria in the mouth can be found in the plaque around the heart," Dr. Ross said.
However, according to the ADA, while there is evidence of a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, it's not clear whether one *causes* the other.
"Is this just a marker for poor general health 'cause you are not taking care of your gums, so you are not taking care of your heart, or is there a causality?" Dr. Ross said. "In other words, do the bacteria that build up in your mouth lead to more systemic inflammation in the arteries? That we don't yet know."
Dr. Ross notes the risk also depends on the person, and some people who barely floss or brush have no heart problems whatsoever.
As doctors continue to study the connection between the two, both Kohli and Ross say to keep good hygiene and good health
It certainly wouldn't hurt to add flossing to your routine.
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