Floss Your Way to Better Heart Health

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Want to keep your heart healthy? Take care of your teeth.

Numerous scientific studies have found a definite link between oral health and cardiovascular disease. The reason is that periodontal disease (infection and inflammation of the gums) is associated with increased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP)—and the higher your CRP the greater your risk of cardiovascular disease.

So, keeping your teeth and gums in good shape is one more thing you can do to promote healthy arteries and stave off heart attack and stroke.

While brushing is important, flossing is even more critical. A study presented at an American Heart Association conference looked at 300 patients in a lifestyle modification program for lowering cardiovascular disease risk factors.

The researchers found that those who flossed their teeth at least every other day for six months were able to lower their CRP levels into the normal range, and when they stopped flossing, CRP went back up. Another study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that aggressive treatment of severe periodontal disease resulted in marked improvements in the function and health of the arteries over six months.

Now it’s your turn: How often do you floss?

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