Flossing helps remove infection-causing bacteria from between your teeth. It lowers your risk for gum disease and cavities and decreases your risk for oral infections. When you brush and floss your teeth and regularly visit your dentist, you are more likely to enjoy optimal oral health well into your golden years. Failing to floss your teeth every day not only takes a toll on your oral health, but it may also have the following serious health consequences.
1. Pro-inflammatory Chemical Release
If you do not floss your teeth regularly, plaque will soon harden into tartar. When this happens, an inflammatory response is triggered, which can cause your body to release pro-inflammatory chemicals such as cytokines and C-reactive protein, which is a significant marker for systemic inflammation. If you have high levels of cytokines and C-reactive protein in your bloodstream, you may be at a higher risk for a heart infection.
These pro-inflammatory chemicals can cause inflammation of your arteries, which is a risk factor for heart attacks. While poor dental hygiene may be a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease, you can lower your risk simply by flossing your teeth every day. Getting professional cleanings will also help remove tartar from under your gums and between your teeth so these negative consequences are less likely to occur.
Infection-causing oral bacteria can spread to your lungs, raising your risk for pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Not only can the oral bacteria spread by way of your bloodstream, but it can also be aspirated into your lungs, leading to pneumonia.
Tell your dentist If you have a compromised immune system, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, or if you take medications that cause immune suppression. The dentist may prescribe a course of antibiotics prior to dental surgery and other procedures to lower your risk for lung infections. Prophylactic antibiotic therapy prior to undergoing dental work is also recommended for heart patients to lower the risk for a valve infection. If failure to floss has caused significant calculus formation, you may need to have a scaling and root planing procedure to remove the excess plaque calculus from your teeth.
If you haven't been flossing your teeth regularly, see a general dentist right away. Do not let embarrassment get in your way of acquiring proper care. Your dentist will be happy that you sought treatment, which will improve both your oral health and overall general health.