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10 Reasons You're Healthier Than You Think

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6. You brush twice a day.

It seems like a no-brainer, but taking good care of your teeth and gums does more than give you a nice smile -- it can protect you from a stroke or heart attack, according to a new study. Researchers in New York looked at 657 people with no history of heart disease and discovered that those with the highest levels of bad mouth bacteria had increased artery thickness and elevated white-blood-cell levels, both of which can raise heart disease risk. "We think the bacteria makes its way into your bloodstream, leaving artery walls inflamed and narrowed," says Sally Cram, DDS, a periodontist in Washington, D.C.

Top That: Go for a cleaning every six months, especially if you're on the birth control pill or pregnant. "Hormone changes can make you more sensitive to the plaque and bacteria that can cause gum inflammation," says Cram.

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