The weird connection between mouthwash, gum disease and diabetes

Gum disease is more than just bad breath and bleeding gums.

The gum inflammation that comes with periodontitis (gum disease) is associated with serious diseases  like heart disease, kidney disease and Alzheimer’s

But there’s an especially complex relationship between gum disease and type 2 diabetes…

Periodontitis increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes increases your risk of developing periodontitis.

In fact, people with diabetes are three times more likely to develop periodontitis. And the higher their blood sugar is, the worse their gum disease tends to be.

But a new study claims it may be able to control both conditions with one simple, everyday practice…

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Can you gargle diabetes away?

Researchers from Japan’s Osaka University report that when people with type 2 diabetes gargled with an antiseptic mouthwash, the number of periodontitis-related bacteria decreased.

What’s more, they say some people achieved better control of their blood sugar.

“There are three highly virulent bacterial species that are linked to periodontitis, or diseases of the tissues surrounding the teeth,” explains lead author of the study Saaya Matayoshi.

“We decided to see if we could reduce these three species — Porphyromonas gingivalis, Treponema denticola, and Tannerella forsythia — in patients with type 2 diabetes using a mouthwash containing the antiseptic chlorhexidine gluconate.”

The researchers took bi-monthly saliva and blood samples from 173 patients who gargled with water for the first six months, and then with the antiseptic mouthwash for the second six months.

The results were a little lackluster…

There was no overall change to HbA1c — and only younger patients had greater reductions in bacterial species and significantly better blood-sugar control with the mouthwash.

So is it worth a try if you’re on the mature side?

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Not so fast: Mouthwash may do more harm

No matter your age, you may want to take those findings with a grain of salt…

In 2018, a much larger study analyzed data from 1,206 overweight and obese adults. Those who reported using mouthwash at least twice daily were 55 percent more likely to develop prediabetes or diabetes over three years.

Researchers suspect that the chemical compounds in mouthwash that kill bad bacteria also destroy “good” mouth bacteria that are needed to form nitric oxide, a naturally occurring chemical compound that helps regulate insulin, dilate blood vessels and support your cardiovascular system.

These findings were supported by two other previous studies as well.

Instead, keep your mouth healthy by staying on top of dental visits. Holistic dentists are more aware of the strong connection between oral health and its impact on the body and may guide you to practices and products that won’t do more harm than good.

You can also search online for a mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol or harsh ingredients like chlorhexidine gluconate.

And there is another very strong factor that could douse the relationship between periodontitis and diabetes — vitamin D.

A University of Toronto study found that people who had periodontitis and low levels of vitamin D had a diabetes risk that was greater than the sum of the individual effects.”

And since that research from Toronto, we’ve also learned that supplementing vitamin D was associated with a 15 percent risk reduction for developing type 2 diabetes in adults with prediabetes.

It’s estimated that up to 40 percent of the U.S. population is deficient in Vitamin D — and older adults are most at risk. So make sure you’re getting enough.

Editor’s note: Do you know that poor gums and teeth are linked to the number one killer in America? Not to mention kidney disease… rheumatoid arthritis… Parkinson’s disease… depression… and so much more. Click here to discover America’s Hidden Dental Health Crisis: How to protect yourself and your family from this dangerous public health peril!


Gargling away the bad bacteria in type 2 diabetes — Eureka Alert

Effects of mouthwash on periodontal pathogens and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus — Scientific Reports

Statistics about diabetes — American Diabetes Association

Low levels of vitamin D3 and periodontitis may trigger the onset of Type 2 diabetes — Medical Express

Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.