A new study reveals a benefit of flossing that was not known before. It protects the brain from inflammation and prevents cognitive decline.

Flossing is a must for good oral hygiene. In fact, dentists across the world recommend it at least once a day to maintain oral hygiene. Butt unfortunately, not many people in India are aware of the benefits of this practice. According to a survey by the American Dental Association (ADA), only 16 percent of adults floss their teeth. And, in India, the situation is much worse. Flossing itself is not enough to maintain dental hygiene, you must do it correctly.

Importance of flossing

Our teeth have five sides. While brushing, you can clean only three of these sides. This is where flossing comes in. It helps remove food particles and bacteria from between teeth. It is a simple step but one that helps in preventing cavities, plaque build-up and gum disease like gingivitis. It also helps you keep bad breath away.

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It can protect you from cognitive decline

A new study by NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing says that there is another compelling reason for people to make flossing a part of their daily routine. According to researchers of this study, flossing can help prevent cognitive decline. Study results suggest that adults with more tooth loss had 1.48 times higher risk of cognitive impairment and 1.28 times higher risk of dementia than the others. This risk is there if you also delay getting a denture to replace your loss of teeth. Researchers specifically noted that adults who experienced tooth loss were more likely to have cognitive decline if they did not have dentures.

Flossing reduces inflammation of brain cells

Most people are also not aware of the fact that dental health affects brain cells. Commenting on this, Dr. Mohendar Narula, Founder, and Chairman, MyDentalPlan Healthcare Pvt. Ltd says, “When we floss, we reduce the inflammation and potential infection in our mouth, keeping the infection from spreading to our brain cells. Healthy gums lead to avoiding the loss of brain cells and even memory loss. It only takes a minute a day and can help in keeping the gums, mind, and memory healthy.”

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It can improve gum health

Usually, people with sensitive or bleeding gums may avoid flossing. But experts say that regular flossing can actually help in improving the health of gums and reduce bleeding episodes.

The right way to floss

It is important to spread awareness about maintaining oral hygiene and inculcating flossing as a part of the daily dental hygiene routine. It is not just important to make flossing a part of the daily routine but also understand the right way to do so. Most people floss up and down since this seems to be the right way to get food particles out from between teeth. But this is not true. Flossing like this will only remove some of the particles between your teeth. It will not help you reach the sides of your teeth and the area below the gum line where plaque can accumulate. Here’s how you do it:

  • Hold a 1″ – 2″ length of the floss tightly between fingers. Or you can wind one end between your middle fingers.
  • With your index fingers, guide the floss to the space in between two teeth.
  • Use a zig-zag motion while doing so.
  • Wrap the floss around the side of the tooth.
  • Slide it up and down against the tooth surface and under the gumline.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

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