LONDON: Brushing does more than just protecting your teeth from cavity -- it can also cut the risk of a heart disease, says a new study. Previous studies showed a link between gum disease and an increased likelihood of suffering from heart disease or a stroke. But, scientists were not able to explain the connection. Now, an international team has found that the body's own defences could overreact to the threat of gum disease and destroy its own protective cells, which leads to a build up of arteries called atherosclerosis, a cause of heart attacks. "This (study) is a significant step towards a more complete understanding of heart disease and improving treatment and preventive therapies. "An understanding of all the possible risk factors could help lower the risk of developing heart disease and lead to a significant change in disease burden," lead researcher Greg Seymour was quoted by 'The Daily Telegraph' as saying. Seymour of the University of Otago in New Zealand and colleagues came to the conclusion after analysing the effects of brushing on a group of people with cardiovascular disease which can cause heart attacks and restrict or blocks the flow of blood to the vital organ. Even dentists recommend regular brushing and flossing as the main ways to prevent gum disease, caused when plaque builds up because the teeth are not cleaned properly, and the most common reason behind tooth loss in adults. The findings of the study have been presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting at Trinity College in Dublin.