Brushing two times a day is the norm, but adding an extra round of teeth cleaning with a small‑bristled toothbrush could have more benefits than you thought possible.
According to a new study based in Korea, published in Diabetologia on March 2, maintaining oral hygiene could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 8 percent.
People with dental or gum disease had an increased risk of diabetes by 9 percent. Also, people without teeth, with 15 or more teeth missing, had an increased risk of suffering from diabetes by 21 percent. Researchers collected data from 2003 to 2006 of 188,013 people from National Health Insurance System-Health Screening Cohort (NHIS-HEALS) in Korea.
The cohort had the whole medical history of the Korean demographic including oral hygiene details, such as number of dental visits for various reasons, teeth cleaning sessions and number of times teeth were brushed by each individual. These findings were self-reported, except for the quantity of missing teeth, which were reported by the dentists during visits.
What The Study Found
Around one in six subjects or 17.5 percent of the cohort suffered from periodontal disease. After 10 years, about 31,545 people or 16 percent of the subjects were diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
“Frequent tooth brushing may be an attenuating factor and the presence of periodontal disease and an increased number of missing teeth may be augmenting factors for the occurrence of new-onset diabetes,” the researchers concluded in the paper. “Improving oral hygiene may be associated with a decreased risk of occurrence of new-onset diabetes.”
Furthermore, when adjustments for age were made, adults aged 51 and younger, benefited from brushing twice a day and brought down risk of getting diabetes by 10 percent. When the younger group brushed three times, risk was reduced even more by 14 percent in comparison to subjects who brushed only once a day and to those who did not brush at all.
However, the older group did not benefit from brushing twice a day and only reduced their risk of developing diabetes when they brushed three or more times a day. The reduced risk was by 7 percent compared to people who brushed either once or none at all in people aged 52 and older.
Researchers are unsure of the exact cause and effect relationship between oral hygiene and diabetes since there are many independent factors related to both issues that often do not overlap.
Doctors speculate that poor oral hygiene could start an inflammatory process in the body since gum disease can create gaps in the mouth where bacteria can accumulate. Eventually, the bacteria enter the body’s circulation, causing an immune response that affects blood sugar control.