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Flossing Your Way to Health

Flossing, the oral hygiene aide most people "don't care to use", can be vital to your overall well being, not just for the health of the teeth and gums! As you have heard from your dentist or hygienist, cleaning between the teeth is important in preventing gingivitis or early periodontal disease - an affliction that affects almost 80% of adult Americans, according to the National Institute of Health.

Gum disease left untreated can lead to swollen, bleeding gums, loose teeth, bone loss and, eventually tooth loss. Ouch!!

What may not be so obvious is the strong link between oral bacteria and numerous health problems, including heart disease, increased risk for strokes, exacerbation of diabetes, and in woman, higher rates of pre-term births and low birth-weight babies. Did you know dental plaque found in the mouth is colonies of bacteria? WOW!

And it's these bacteria which release toxins and other by-products that can travel throughout the body, where they may settle and cause inflammation and generalized destruction in otherwise healthy individuals.

As stated in The New York Daily News (January, 2004), research studies at major scientific institutions in the U.S. suggest that gum problems may contribute to a host of dangerous systemic diseases. Unhealthy gums may also be a sign of broader systemic illnesses, such as diabetes. Scientists suspect they have only just begun to discover what health problems might be linked to gum disease.

So, USE FLOSS DAILY!! Flossing removes bacteria and food particles lodged between the teeth and at the gum line that brushing can not reach. Also if you don't brush your teeth effectively, consider buying an electric toothbrush too. These brushes have bristles that move back/forth or rotate many times faster than YOU could ever brush, allowing for safe, thorough brushing. Just hold the brush in the proper position and let the brush do the rest. There are many on the market, like the CREST Spin Brush Pro, that are inexpensive yet very effective.

And remember…rinsing with a mouthwash does NOT replace flossing!

Finally, visit your dentist regularly, at least two to three times per year for a professional checkup and cleaning.

James H Doundoulakis, DMD, MS

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Cosmetic Dentistry in this area is not professionally recognized as a dental specialty but rather a conceptual entity that involves restorative cosmetic and reconstructive procedures that produce an aesthetic outcome Complex technique specific procedures offered by a preferred dentist or practice are best verified by the dental patient

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