Mom used to go absolutely ballistic when I used a toothpick. “What person on earth would put a stick in their mouth and pick their teeth like a hillbilly?” was her constant refrain. “Well, smart people,” I would say today. The American Dental Association has found a link between flossing and increased memory. It seems as though bacteria that gets lodged in your gums offers a pollutant to your brain and consequently your memory. “Gum disease also triggers inflammation in your body and the inflammation is linked to stiffening of the blood vessels,” reports Jenny Cook, Executive Director of Good Housekeeping Magazine. “When you have stiffened blood vessels, it’s actually linked to a greater risk of memory loss.”
So the next time you see me with a dental pick in my mouth, I am not being rude or ill mannered. I am just doing Alzheimer’s research.