A healthy smile could be linked to a healthy heart, according to new research.
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology has suggested that gum disease patients whose bodies show evidence of a reaction towards the bacteria associated with the disease may have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Researchers at Howard University analysed data from 11 previous studies on the link between oral hygiene and heart disease.
The journal's editor, Dr Kenneth Kornman said: "Although there have been many studies associating gum disease with heart disease, what we have not known is exactly why this happens and under what circumstances.
"The findings of this new analysis of previously published studies suggest that the long-term effect of chronic periodontitis, such as extended bacterial exposure, may be what ultimately leads to cardiovascular disease."
According to research conducted by the BBC, cardiovascular disease kills one in three people living in the UK.
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