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We all know that in order to maintain strong, healthy teeth we need to be brushing them twice a day. But did you know that by brushing twice a day we can also lower our risk of developing cardiovascular diseases?

Well, this is what a new study is suggesting. After previous studies have been able to draw a link between heart disease and periodontal disease (a condition involving gum inflammation, gum infection, and tooth damage), the new study has taken a look into whether or not someone’s tooth-brushing habits could be connected to their risk of suffering heart failure, a heart attack, or a stroke.

Of the 682 people taking part in the research, those who said that they brushed their teeth fewer than two times a day, and for fewer than two minutes at a time, were found to have a three-fold increased risk when contrasted against the participants who brushed at least two times a day and for at least two minutes.

The lead researcher of the study and researcher at Hiroshima University’s Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Dr. Shogo Matsui, has gone on to state that the findings would suggest “poor oral health, based on daily teeth-brushing behavior, is associated with” poorer heart health. It does seem that brushing our teeth for longer each morning and night can reduce our risk of developing heart conditions, although Dr. Matsui has said that the point of the study was not to prove or disprove any cause-and-effect.

The observational study does have its limitations however, as cardiologist and professor of medicine emeritus at the University of California Dr. Ann Bolger lays out. “It is possible that people who are very attentive to their dental health are also very attentive to other aspects of their health.” Despite this, however, Dr. Bolger does suggest that science supports some form of a connection between heart health and dental health. When discussing gum disease, Dr. Bolger states that it is one of the diseases “where the body may be in a sort of continual state of inflammation, and this seems to be a very powerful predictor of cardiovascular disease.”

So there we have it. When it comes to the list of benefits we get from brushing our teeth twice a day, we can now add a healthy heart.