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An increasingly comprehensive body of research has been drawing links between a person's dental health and their overall wellbeing.
Now, a new study published in the FASEB Journal connects flossing - a tenet of good dental hygiene - with a lower risk of atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries.
Dentists recommend flossing on a daily basis to remove plaque and debris from the gumline, which is the area where periodontal disease often begins.
Senior researcher Dr Mario Clerici explained that by following this dental hygiene routine, you can also potentially cut your risk of heart disease.
"It has been long suspected that atherosclerosis is an inflammatory process and that periodontal disease plays a role in atherosclerosis," he said.
As part of the study, the scientists monitored the arterial health of 35 people who were treated for gum disease. One year following the treatment, the participants demonstrated reduced inflammation in the blood vessels of their arteries.
Although the precise link between gum disease and heart disease is not clear, one theory proposes that oral bacteria may affect the arteries after entering the blood stream, contributing to the formation of clots.
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