(WHTM) — Flossing your teeth can sometimes feel like a chore, but it is an important part of dental health and, believe it or not, heart health.

“There are a lot of studies that have talked about – at least for periodontal disease – the connection between gum disease and heart health. And there’s really a very strong association between the two, where patients that have periodontal disease, they’re at a much greater risk for having heart disease, stroke, other issues like that.,” Dr. Sasha Ross with Cleveland Clinic said.

Research shows the association could be due in part to periodontal or gum, disease leading to inflammation and bacteria in the heart. Dr. Ross notes the risk really depends on the person.

Ross states she has had some people who barely floss or brush and have no problems whatsoever, whereas others can have the smallest amount of plaque and go on to experience major complications.

Dr. Ross says they can also tell when someone is not flossing. For example, they may have bleeding or swollen gums, loose teeth, lots of plaque buildup, cavities, bad breath, and gum recession.

So, what can someone do to prevent all of those things?

“I think a lot of people are never taught how to properly floss and what kind of floss to use, so at one of these visits, we can work with you and show you how to do it. And then just make it part of your daily routine. I say it’s really good to floss once a day, so ideally you do it at night before you go to bed,” Dr. Ross said.

Dr. Ross also says there are other products available that may help if you have trouble flossing, such as a water pick or specialized brushes that can clean between teeth.