ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – According to a recent study, people who brush their teeth at least two minutes twice a day will have less of a chance of developing heart disease or suffering a stroke.

Researchers from the Mailman School of Public Health at New York’s Columbia University compared data between gum health and atherosclerosis. According to WebMD, atherosclerosis is when an artery wall thickens as a result of the accumulation of calcium and fatty materials such as cholesterol and triglyceride. It can be quite serious.

Researchers were able to determine that the healthier a patient’s gums became, the healthier their heart was.

“This is the most direct evidence yet that modifying the periodontal bacterial profile could play a role in preventing or slowing both diseases,” Dr. Moise Desvarieux, co-author of the study said in the journal.

Scientists did take into account health problems, such as obesity, smoking, and diabetes. Over 420 adults volunteered to be part of this study.

The study showed that bad hygiene can allow up to 700 different types of bacteria to enter the bloodstream.

“This is truly ground-breaking,” Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation said. “The potential link between what goes on in your mouth and the health of your heart has been an intense topic of debate for some time. This research clearly shows the more you improve and maintain your gum health, the less chance there is of developing a potential life-threatening illness.”

The study lasted three years and was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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