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How Flossing Can Boost Your Immune System (And How To Do It Properly)

Flossing has a number of great benefits for your oral health. But did you know that flossing can actually boost your immune system, and help you fight off bacteria and viruses elsewhere in your body? It’s true! And in this blog from the office of Brett Blacher, DDS, we’ll look at the basics of how flossing can boost your immune system, provide you with our top tips for proper flossing, and more. Read on to learn with us.

How to floss

Understanding How Regular Flossing Can Boost Your Immune System

Flossing can actually help boost your immune system and ensure that you are less susceptible to illnesses including the common cold, flu, and much more. How? It’s simple. Because the fewer bacteria there are in your mouth, the less effort your immune system will have to put into fighting them, allowing it to work more effectively elsewhere in your body!

You see, there are billions of bacteria in your mouth that feed on the food debris left behind after eating. Sweet, sticky foods and foods high in carbohydrates, like pasta and chips, are the preferred food of oral bacteria.

They feed on this food, reproduce quickly, and will try to infect your gums. They will also excrete acid after eating food particles, which causes tooth decay. When your gums are attacked by bacteria, your immune system reacts in a process known as inflammation.

Basically, this means that helpful immune system cells from your body will be sent to your gums, which will swell up and become more susceptible to bleeding. When this happens, there will be fewer helpful immune cells to fight back against infections elsewhere in the body. 

If left unchecked, this can lead to a serious infection known as periodontal (gum) disease, which requires specialized treatment, and can be irreversible if it is not treated and the progression of the disease is not halted in time. 

So, by flossing to remove food particles and bacteria from areas where your toothbrush can’t reach, you’re helping to reduce your risk of infection and inflammation from oral bacteria. In turn, this boosts the immune performance of the rest of your body! 

How To Floss Properly – Using The Right Technique

Not sure how to floss properly? Wondering what technique you should use while flossing? Here is a quick overview of proper flossing technique.

  • Begin by unwinding at least 18-24 inches of floss from your floss container. Wind the bulk of the floss around one of your middle or index fingers, and wind the rest of it around the same finger of your other hand
  • Hold onto the floss tightly, and unspool about an inch of floss. Glide it between your teeth with a gentle rocking motion
  • The floss will move down toward your gumline. Once it does, curve it into a “C” shape
  • Hold the floss against your tooth, and scrape the side of the tooth while moving it up and away from the gums. Do this for both sides of the tooth.
  • Repeat this process to clean each tooth. Follow up by brushing! 

More of a visual learner? Here’s a quick video you can watch to make sure you’re flossing properly.

If you haven’t flossed regularly in a while, your gums may start to bleed a little bit when you floss. This is normal, and it’s a result of gum inflammation due to bacteria buildup. As you floss consistently, your gums will become healthier, and will stop bleeding while you floss. 

Care For Your Mouth, Care For Your Body – It’s All Connected!

As this example shows, your overall health and your oral health are more connected than you may think. So make sure you floss properly to boost your immune system, and stay safe from viruses and other infections! 

Want to learn more? Overdue for a six-month teeth cleaning and oral exam in Lombard? Contact the office of Dr. Brett Blacher now to schedule your next appointment. We’re always accepting new patients, so get in touch online or give us a call at (630) 916-0701. 

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