More doctors are advising us to brush our teeth to avoid heart attacks. For a long time, doctors have said gum disease and heart disease are related. A new story on CNN this week sheds new light on exactly why we need to brush our teeth to live longer.

Here's the scientific explanation: A substance produced in the body called high-sensitivity C-reactive-protein (hs-CRP) may play a role in the link between gum disease and heart disease. Acute gum disease increases the amount of hs-CRP in the bloodstream, which is a natural response to inflammation caused by injury or infection. The American Heart Association says hs-CRP may signal an increased risk for heart attacks.

Whew.

So what do we do about it? Brush, floss and go to the dentist. Just in case you need an official reminder, or you want to know exactly how to teach your kids to brush and floss, here are instructions from The American Dental Association.

Brush Your Teeth

  • Place toothbrush at 45-degree angle against gums.
  • Move the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  • Brush outer tooth surfaces, inner tooth surfaces and chewing surfaces.
  • Use brush's "toe" to clean inside surfaces of front teeth with gentle up-and-down stroke
  • Brush tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath.

Floss

  • Wrap most of an 18-inch piece of floss around your middle finger on one hand and the same finger on the other hand. Hold the floss tightly between the thumbs and forefingers.
  • Guide the floss between the teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
  • When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
  • Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don't forget the back side of your last tooth.

Here's a funny post from jen.jenuine about how she lost her toothbrush for over an hour this week. Do you have any special tooth brushing rituals?