Healthy teeth lowers your risk of diabetes

Thursday, 5 March 2020

A new study from Seoul Hospital has found that brushing your teeth three times a day or more can lower your risk of developing diabetes. While poor dental hygiene and many missing teeth (15 or more) is linked to an increased risk of developing the condition.

These findings underline the importance of good oral hygiene. Healthy teeth and regular brushing can reduce your risk of diabetes.

Oral health and diabetes

Diabetes is one of the fastest growing chronic health conditions globally and inflammation plays a role in the development of the condition.

Because periodontal disease and poor oral hygiene can bring on infection and systemic inflammation, the team conducting the study hypothesised that poor oral hygiene indicators could be associated with the development diabetes (both type 1 and type 2 diabetes).

What the research found

The study which analysed data collected on 188,000 subjects from the National Health Insurance System-Health Screening Cohort in Korea, found around one in six had periodontal disease. After a median follow-up of 10 years, 16% developed diabetes.

Using computer modelling, adjusted for patient demographics (including age, sex, weight, height, blood pressure, socioeconomic status), the team found that presence of periodontal disease and number or missing teeth were both linked to increased risk of developing diabetes by 9% and 21 % respectively. While frequent brushing (3 times per day or more) lowered the risk of developing the diabetes by 8%.

Further analysis revealed that women who practiced good oral hygiene were also at a lower risk of developing diabetes than men of the same age.

Healthy teeth important to good health

While this study does not reveal the exact mechanism connecting oral hygiene to development of diabetes, tooth decay, especially as it worsens, can contribute to chronic and systemic inflammation. This increases the production inflammatory biomarkers, which previous studies have shown are linked to insulin resistance and the development of diabetes.

The research concluded that frequently brushing your teeth can reduce the risk of diabetes, while periodontal disease and a number of missing teeth increased the risk.

Practicing good oral hygiene, not only keeps your teeth healthy and your smile bright it is good for your overall health too. Check out factsheet on diabetes and dental health for more information.

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