Flossing Your Way to a Healthy Heart

Dental health is in the news again and being a dental professional I am always interested. This article came from Jenny Thompson of Health Science Institute (www.hsibaltimore.com) and has to do with periodontal disease and its apparent relationship to metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that put a person at greater risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The article struck a chord with me because my spousal unit (SU) asked me to discuss flossing alternatives on my blog as he felt it was useful information. Flossing is only one component of good dental health and ridding your body of inflammation is the first thing a person needs to do to avoid heart disease and type 2 diabetes BUT if you are having trouble getting in to the floss “habit” read on.

As you can imagine it can be difficult to be espoused to a Nazi hygienist (or so my daughter called me one day) and for 25 years my SU really didn’t floss which resulted in the normal helpful advice that hygienists give anyone willing to listen. Apparently he never tired of my whining, bitching, cajoling, whatever adjective you want to use because he really did not attempt to develop “the” habit until he says I finally  mentioned alternative methods to floss his teeth. I don’t quite buy that in 25 years I never mentioned alternatives to the white finger method but that is another story. For the purpose of this article I will mention a couple of really successful methods that have worked for my family.

If you are a Target shopper they sell a product by DenTek called Floss Pik. These little wonders come in bags of 75 at a price that is affordable and probably varies by region. I like the Silk flossed ones with an “easy angle” my SU prefers the regular Floss-Piks. They each come with a toothpick end and a floss end and both ends serve a means. Toothpicks are useful for pushing food through when it is impacted, say, in an area where your teeth don’t meet perfectly thus forming an open contact. The floss cleans the spot where normally aligned teeth touch each other (contact area) and the subgingival (under the gums) area not attached to tooth or bone called the sulcus. No longer do you have to feel that lovely numb and tingling feeling brought on by floss wrapped ridiculously tight around your middle finger, you just grab a Floss-Pik and Bobs your uncle (as they say only in Britain so I am told).

But wait there is another adjunct that works wonders when flossing is recommended but you value your fingers too much to follow your hygienist’s advice. It is called the Reach Access flosser and it is the one I prefer and my daughter swears is the only reason she flosses. You can buy it at any retail store that sells dental products but I know Target sells it with the other floss. It has a long handle with a U-shaped end that holds a U-shaped device that has a piece of floss tightly stretched from end to end. This flossing U-shaped end snaps on the handle and away you go. You can read a book and floss, drive a car and floss (I did not say that) why you could even……..and floss.

I hope you all find this helpful advice and if nothing else you will know some key words to use the next time your hygienist brings up the oft discussed topic of flossing.

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