Floss for Your Smile AND Your Health - Virtua Article

Floss for Your Smile AND Your Health

A bright smile and fresh breath are clear benefits of taking care of your teeth and gums. But studies show that the advantages of good oral hygiene are more than cosmetic. 

The mouth welcomes bacteria, most of which is good. But, in the presence of gum disease, or periodontitis, bad bacteria can travel beyond your gums to your heart and other organs. Many forms of gum disease—from gum swelling to tooth loss—have been linked to conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease, and even breast cancer. 

Flossing keeps teeth and gums healthy by removing plaque and harmful bacteria from between your teeth. It also helps prevent more serious levels of gum disease and infection that can lead to other consequences like tooth loss and bone loss in the jaw. 

You don’t even need much to floss—just one minute of your time, dental floss (waxed, unwaxed, flavored) and your hands. If you need a flossing refresher, check out the American Dental Association’s 5 Steps to a Flawless Floss

Other flossing options beyond plain dental floss include dental picks, pre-threaded flossers, and water flossers, also known as water picks. Your dentist can help you choose the best option. 

One minute each night is a worthwhile investment—not only for your smile, but for your overall health. 

Updated January 11, 2017

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