We all have heard about the importance of brushing regularly and properly. Be it our parents or our teachers, we were told to brush twice a day correctly, once in the morning and once before bed. Following oral hygiene habits ensures that our teeth and gums remain healthy and glistening but did you know that these simple habits can help you fight diabetes?

For many years the relationship between oral health and diabetes has been a subject of many medical and dental studies.

Recently a study was conducted which shows that people who brush their teeth three times a day tend to be at a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Besides, this study also went on to show that people suffering from dental cavities and gum diseases are prone to having impaired blood sugar levels.

This study was conducted by a clinical assistant professor of neurology at Ewha Woman’s University Mokdong Hospital, South Korea – Dr. Yoonkyung Chang. This study established a relationship between oral health and new-onset diabetes, suggesting that a person with good oral health tends to be at a lower risk of developing new-onset diabetes.

However, Chang also said that further investigations still haven’t figured out the exact mechanism behind this. Although one thing can be said that compromised oral health seemed to contribute towards diabetes. Poor oral hygiene leads deposition of bacteria in the gums, which leads to chronic inflammatory processes. Chronic inflammation affects the integrity of your mouth and causes gum inflammation.

These bacteria find a way to enter the bloodstream. Once these bacteria enter the bloodstream, our body generates an immune response. This immune response leads to deranged blood sugar levels. However, even this cannot conclusively prove a relationship between dental health and diabetes as many other factors that contribute to poor oral health contribute to type 2 diabetes.

Dr.Akankansha Goyal, an endocrinologist from NYU Langone Health in New York City, has also observed a relationship between compromised oral health and diabetes. She says that diabetes can cause poor oral health, but vice versa cannot be said with absolute certainty. High blood sugar levels may lead to dental cavities and gum diseases. Eating patterns also form a base for such conditions. Diet rich in highly processed carbohydrates contributes to poor oral health and diabetes.

The study in South Korea had 190,000 subjects where the average age was 53. The data was assembled from 2003 to 2006. It was seen that one out of every six people had some or the other gum disease. The follow-up time for each subject was 10 years, and during this time, 16% of the people involved in the study later developed diabetes.

Different factors such as age, weight, blood pressure, physical activity, income, smoking and alcohol intake were recorded for each individual using computer programs. This research concluded that people with gum diseases have a 9% higher risk of diabetes, and individuals with 15 or more missing teeth were at a 21% higher risk of diabetes.

Individuals with an age of 51 or lower had a more substantial effect of good oral hygiene to lower the risk for diabetes.

Regular brushing, flossing and scheduling regular dental visits are essential in preventing diabetes. Apart from this, a healthy diet and regular exercise can significantly lower the chances of developing diabetes.

At Waterloo Emergency Dental Centre – Waterloo Dentist Office, we care about your oral health and strive to provide you with the best possible treatment and care.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.


DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is no way to offer a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation.  Any advice provided is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.