Flossing sets your creative mind free

If you do not look in a mirror, and you floss by tactical sensation (feeling), you are activating a different part of your brain.

by Lois Mueller — 

Flossing seems to be too much trouble for many people. What might make it more worthwhile is understanding that flossing actually helps us think in a more expanded, creative, dynamic way while improving our overall health and well-being.

The act of flossing one’s teeth stimulates both the right and left brain at the same time. Your right hand motion is triggered by your left brain, while your right brain is activated by your left hand. The activity of flossing actually connects the two sides of your brain and gets them working simultaneously.

When you look in the mirror to floss, your eyes are connected to both your right and left brain, which then connects to the fingers. Adding sight to the process creates new brain connections.

If you do not look in a mirror, and you floss by tactical sensation (feeling), you are activating a different part of your brain. If there’s bacteria between your teeth and you notice a bad taste, you have engaged yet another sense.

Flossing offers a world of information to all of your senses. For one thing, you keep this stimulation going for as many teeth as you have. One-by-one, sight, feeling, taste, even the sound of dental floss sliding between your teeth stimulates your brain and makes new neural connections. It is easy to see how you are activating and stimulating many parts of your brain with the simple act of flossing.

Why is flossing so hard to do?

For many people, the brain has not been connected in this way before. If certain parts of your brain are not used to being activated or the connections have not been used very often in the past, you may find flossing difficult.

However, if you make flossing a new daily habit for just seven consecutive days, you will create a wonderful new connection that you can utilize for other kinds of thinking, and in so doing you will generally improve your overall brain function. In essence, you are creating more “roads” for information to traverse.

What other activities do you perform that use your hands as one unit? Flossing is a unique and stimulating activity all on its own.

Flossing benefits your entire body

Physically, flossing provides the health benefit of removing plaque. When plaque adheres to the teeth, it cuts off oxygen beneath the gum. In this environment, bad bacteria, which does not need oxygen, grows rapidly. Bacteria becomes stuck to your teeth, just like hard-water deposits attach to the faucets in your home.

Bad bacteria releases toxins into your bloodstream that elevate c-reactive proteins. This causes chronic inflammation in your body and is linked to heart disease. The chronic infection is a chronic drain on your immune system. As a result, your body works hard, day and night, to get rid of the infection, but is unsuccessful.

Financial benefits to flossing

If you had to purchase the jawbone, gums, tooth enamel and roots, each tooth would be worth about $10,000. That adds up to $280,000 for 28 teeth, the value of a Ferrari. Doesn’t it make sense to meticulously take care of your teeth, similar to the way you would a fine automobile?

Next time you are thinking you might skip flossing, remember that flossing makes brain connections that expand your capacity to think, and it removes plaque that can lead to life-threatening disease. The more you floss, the easier it becomes. And the financial benefits of healthy teeth and gums could reach six figures! All combined, flossing will add many healthy, productive years to your life. For just two minutes of care per day, it seems rather ridiculous not to.


Lois Mueller, RHD, EFH, is a registered dental hygienist and expanded-function hygienist with extensive experience in preventive dentistry and non-surgical gum therapy. She is laser-certified, a certified sleep disorder hygienist, wellness coach and dental hygienist at Arizona Smile Design. 623-474-3343 or www.azsmiledesign.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 3, June/July 2007.

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