CHICAGO, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- February means Valentine's Day and American Heart Month! The American Dental Hygienists' Association reminds Americans that daily flossing is one of the easiest and most important things a person can do to improve their total health -- including preventing the onset of cardiovascular disease, an ailment that affects approximately 59 million people in the U.S. alone. ADHA President and registered dental hygienist Lisa B. Potter says, "While this may not sound like an oral health issue, numerous studies have suggested a connection between periodontal and cardiovascular disease." Seventy-five percent of adults have some form of periodontal disease, an inflammation of gum tissue caused by bacterial infection. Potter points out that flossing is an essential component for maintaining healthy teeth and gums because it helps to clean the teeth surfaces, between the teeth and along the gumline. Potter further explains that many people do not floss on a regular basis because they find it difficult, especially where there are tight contact points between the teeth. She suggests that people who have difficulty using floss try some of the other interdental cleaners -- thin plastic or wooden dental picks or mechanical floss threaders -- until they find something that is comfortable and easy for them to use. In addition, Potter says people should keep in mind that brushing teeth at least three times a day helps to clean the teeth surfaces, but has little effect on the removal of plaque between the teeth and along the gumline. Brushing, flossing and scheduling regular oral health checkups are all vital for the maintenance of healthy gums, prevention of periodontal disease, reduction of tooth decay and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Dental hygienists help patients understand the connection between oral health and overall health and educate patients about proper oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing techniques, to help clean teeth effectively. For more information about proper oral health care, and brushing and flossing instructions, please ask your dental hygienist, visit the ADHA Web site at adha.org or call toll free 1-800-847-6718. ADHA is the largest national organization representing the professional interests of the more than 100,000 licensed dental hygienists across the country. Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in dental hygiene, who provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services that support total health through the promotion of optimal oral health.
SOURCE American Dental Hygienists' Association