I watched the Dr. Oz show one day and they happened to speak about myocardial infarction (heart attack). It was mentioned that when someone has a heart attack, doctors might ask if the person flossed. According to research, when left undetected by brushing, the bacteria in the dental plaque can seep into the gums, get into arteries, and cause buildup and blockage of the vessel, which could lead to a heart attack or some form of heart disease. The result of which can be devastating.
My memory sifts back in time nine years ago to the wee hours of a Sunday morning. The phone rang and a few minutes later my mom commanded everyone to get dressed and be buckled in the car. “What’s going on?” I asked. “Uncle B had a heart attack,” mom says. “We have to get to Chicago.” The drive from our home to Chicago usually took four hours (which included traffic), but this was one time my family was less concerned about the speed limit.
Every minute being in the car seemed like an eternity. “How much further to Chicago?” my sister asked. “Not long,” dad said. During the ride, mom kept in touch with my aunt who would update us on our uncle’s situation. The news didn’t seem to get better. I hope he makes it, I whispered to myself. He’s strong; he doesn’t know how to give up.
We approached the “Chicago” exit and applauded to know we were nearer–then mom’s cell rang. “Dear God no!” were the only words uttered from my mom and like a ripple effect the entire crew in the car was overcome with tears. To our dismay, uncle B, who made us laugh everytime we were in his company, who wouldn’t allow anyone to touch the remote when Venus or Serena Williams played, who would go to the ends of the earth to protect his wife and kids–died. (He was in his 50’s.)
I miss my uncle dearly and wished he was still alive. Since his passing, my eyes have been opened and my mind kept aware of a disease so prevalent in America today. Heart attack is one of the biggest causes of death in North America and the number of lives lost to this disease continues. We may not have control over everything that happens to us, but we have control over how we choose to live.
If flossing can help prevent a heart disease and extend my life, I’ve already launched myself into the habit. It may seem menial and even daunting to do after every meal but it’s worth sweating this small stuff.