Remember To Brush & Floss… Your Spine?
“Just Brush & Floss What You Want To Keep!”
When dentists are asked about the importance of brushing and flossing, many recommend, “just brush and floss what you want to keep!” Every day you take measures to maintain your teeth and gums. You probably visit your dentist’s office twice a year, and probably will for the rest of your life. Keeping good care of your oral health is important for a reason, and it’s not just for aesthetics.
A recent study lends major support to the recommendation to keep the mouth healthy and free of inflammation. Looking at health data of 11,000 men and women, the researchers found that those who reported that they seldom or never brushed their teeth were 70% more likely to experience a heart attack or stroke than those who paid greater attention to dental care when controlling for contributing factors. Seventy percent!
So how can inflammation in your mouth lead to heart disease? This is an important point to understand when it comes to health: inflammation in one part of your body increases inflammatory processes throughout your entire body. Chronic systemic (whole-body) inflammation can and will negatively affect the function of every single system in your body, from your cardiovascular system to your digestive system to your endocrine system.
The Role of Inflammation
If inflammation of just the teeth and gums can have such a giant impact on your overall health, imagine how much more detrimental inflammation in the spine can be to your body. Inflammation in the spine happens due to dysfunction between vertebrae in the spine that puts stretch or compression on the muscles, nerves and ligaments surrounding the joint. This leads to swelling in and around the spine and sets in motion an inflammation pathway throughout the body.
The body compensates for these misalignments to allow you to continue with your everyday life without pain, but that doesn’t mean the dysfunction and associated inflammation aren’t still present. In fact, pain usually won’t be felt in a joint until 80% of its function (or movement) is lost! By the time you feel pain inflammation is usually already in full swing!
Do you brush, floss and visit the dentist only when you have a toothache? Of course not. The fact is your spine, like your teeth and gums, requires maintenance. Just think of what you put your spine through each day! A stress-filled job, poorly designed chairs, repetitive motions, a lack of exercise, a sagging mattress and countless traumas that accumulate over time. Your spine, and the nervous system it protects, is being constantly assaulted by the way we live our busy lives.
And unlike your teeth, you can’t replace your spine! If you don’t take care of your spine with chiropractic care, exercise, and good postural habits, you’re stuck with the one you have (for better or worse).
Just about everyone has a dental specialist they see for checkups, but everyone needs to be seeing their spine specialist regularly too – their chiropractor! At Ascent Sports & Wellness Chiropractic, we make it our priority to detect and correct the misalignments in the spine that cause inflammation before they lead to more serious problems. Ready to schedule an appointment? Call us at 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment online.
de Oliveira C, Watt R, Hamer M. Toothbrushing, inflammation, and risk of cardiovascular disease: results from Scottish Health Survey BMJ 2010;340