Healing Tip: Flossing for Arterial Health

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

A growing number of scientific studies are finding definite links between oral health and cardiovascular disease.

Periodontal disease (infection and inflammation of the gums) is associated with increased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation that is also linked with increased 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.

Good oral hygiene includes regular flossing. A study presented at an American Heart Association conference looked at 300 patients in a lifestyle modification program for lowering cardiovascular disease risk factors. They 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.

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