The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Brush and Brush, again!

Posted in
Live well

Monday, Jul 05, 2010

It’s time to make physical activity as routine as brushing our teeth! Did you know that research is starting to show that oral hygiene along with exercise may help reduce cardiovascular (CV) disease?

A recent blog, “Physically Active with a Sedentary Lifestyle: Are you at risk?,”explored the effects of prolonged sitting on all-cause and CV death rates in individuals who exercised and those who did not1.  Researchers reported the highest death rates in persons who spent most of the day sitting and those who spent more time sitting.  And this was true even if they met their recommended PA requirements.  In fact, death rates were similar for exercisers and non-exercisers who sat during the day.

So moving throughout the day is seen as a way to lessen the risk of CV deaths, but it’s time to add more teeth brushing too. de Oliveira and associated (2010)2 investigated whether the number of times individuals brush their teeth is correlated with the risk of developing heart disease.

In the 8+ year study, just over 11,000 individuals were tracked through to hospital admissions and deaths. During the study, 555 cardiovascular events occurred. Those that brushed less had an increased risk for CV disease than those that brushed twice per day.

The stats from the study compared to twice per day brushers:
• Once per day  - 1.3 increased risk for CV events
• Less than once per day - 1.7 increased risk for CV events

So keep those pearly whites nice and clean (at least twice a day) for a longer and healthier life!  And don’t forget to walk to the water cooler for an extra swish.

1Katzmarzyk, P.T., Church, T.S., Craig, C.L., & Bouchard, C. (2009). Sitting time and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer. MSSE, 41(5),998-1005.
2de Oliveira, C, Watt, R, & Hamer, M. (2010). Toothbrushing, inflammation, and risk of cardiovascular disease: results from Scottish health survey. British Medical Journal, 340(c2451), Retrieved from