The four minute daily habit that boosts longevity – it doesn’t involve diet or exercise

Living a long life is no longer mysterious thanks to decades of groundbreaking research into the most important factors. Chief among them is building a buffer against chronic disease through your lifestyle. For example, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death globally but the risk factors are modifiable.

Eating well and exercising regularly are integral to risk reduction but research has also found novel ways to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

A daily four minute activity has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease: brushing teeth twice daily.

Researchers in a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) sought to examine whether self reported toothbrushing behaviour is associated with cardiovascular disease and markers of inflammation.

They drew on data from the Scottish Health Survey; a nationally representative sample of the general population living in households in Scotland.

READ MORE: Longevity: The simple exercise that lowers risk of mortality by 70% – and it costs nothing

Participants who reported poor oral hygiene (never/rarely brushed their teeth) had an increased risk of a cardiovascular disease event.

The data suggests that brushing your teeth twice daily can mitigate the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

“Poor oral hygiene is associated with higher levels of risk of cardiovascular disease and low grade inflammation, though the causal nature of the association is yet to be determined,” the researchers concluded.

Tips for optimal teeth brushing

“Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for about two minutes to help keep your teeth and mouth healthy,” advises the NHS.

The health body continues: “But some people find it easier to clean their teeth thoroughly with an electric toothbrush.

“For most adults, a toothbrush with a small head and a compact, angled arrangement of long and short round-end bristles is fine. Medium or soft bristles are best for most people.”

As it explains, if you’re using an electric brush, one with an oscillating or rotating head may work better than a manual toothbrush.

“But making sure you thoroughly clean your teeth at least twice a day is more important than the type of brush you use. If in doubt, ask your dentist.”

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