Just floss your teeth already!
If you’re like me, you hate going to the dentist, not because of the needles or drilling, but because you hate paying co-pays. I would much rather just Advil my problems away than see a medical professional. With this mentality, you’d think I’d be better at preventing problems too. But I don’t. I’ll admit it: I don’t floss regularly.
Now don’t get all “Yech” on me. I floss. Sometimes. Like 31% of Americans, I floss my teeth less than daily (50% of Americans say they floss their teeth daily, but I think they’re lying, and 18.5% admit to never flossing at all, according to the American Dental Association in 2010). So when my toothache started, you bet I started complaining. It was really a gum ache and man was it bothering me. I brushed. I gently flossed. I aggressively flossed. It got worse. Throbbing, awful worse.
The dentist got me in and x-rayed. “Hmmm” he said. “There appears to be absolutely nothing wrong with your teeth or gums.” “But it huuuuuurts,” I cried out after much dental poking and prodding. “Well, there’s nothing there. But let me try this one thing.” SWIPE!
The blinding pain that followed was immediately followed by crystal clear relief. What had this mouth master done to make me feel so much better? He’d taken his Dental Explorer (that’s the hooked metal probe dentists love to use) and basically flossed the space between my last molar and the gum.
“You know, if you’d floss regularly, you probably wouldn’t have had this problem.” My dentist said, always trying to get me to floss regularly! “Bacteria can get between the tooth and the gum line and cause inflammation, which causes pain, if you don’t floss it out daily. Good to see you. That will be all your life savings in dental co-pays!” Well maybe he didn’t really say that last bit but I sure could have saved myself the time, money, and let’s not forget pain, if I’d just flossed. Everyday!
As if you didn’t need another reason to floss daily, a new study, reported by Prevention Magazine, shows that the bacteria that causes periodontal gum disease also impacts the appearance of rheumatoid arthritis. While originating differently, they are both immunity-related diseases where the body starts attacking its own tissues. The bacteria porphyromonas gingivalis is the culprit, which affects the gums as gingivitis or periodontitis or possibly the joints as RA.
For people with RA, this news is huge for finding a cure or at least effective treatments, but for the rest of us, it’s important too because we Americans don’t floss enough. Several online sources say it’s never too late to start flossing to see the benefits in your total health so get on it. And if you haven’t been in a while, go see your dentist for a checkup. A checkup co-pay is much cheaper than the alternative, and no one likes the "Yech."
Prevention Magazine, The Crazy New Reason You Need to Floss: http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/link-between-gum-disease-and-rheumatoid-arthritis