American Dental Hygienists' Association Says Floss Your Way to a Healthy Heart

Feb 11, 2000, 00:00 ET from American Dental Hygienists' Association

    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 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
     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