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Study links oral hygiene to heart health

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Chicago — Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, new research presented by the American Heart Association suggests.

After surveying 682 people about their brushing habits, researchers determined that not following oral hygiene guidelines increased three-fold the risk of having or dying from a heart attack, heart failure or stroke.

“Poor oral health, based on daily teeth-brushing behavior, is associated with (poorer heart health),” lead researcher Shogo Matsui, of the Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences at Hiroshima University in Japan, said in a Nov. 7 press release from AHA.

The release highlights a separate study – published Oct. 22 in the AHA journal Hypertension – in which researchers found that gum disease appears to increase blood pressure and may negatively interfere with medications designed to treat hypertension.

Gum disease 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,” Ann Bolger, a cardiologist and professor of medicine emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco, said in the release.

AHA announced the new study results Nov. 10 at its Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago.

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