diabetes in the news

Keep on brushing! Your oral health affects your overall health including glucose level control

brushing teeth

Brushing your teeth is a task that is learned very early on in life. This practice is widely known to be of major importance in every person’s day-to-day personal hygiene. However, many people are not aware that this simple daily routine may have a positive effect on their blood glucose control.

Studies have found that there is, in fact, a correlation between increased tooth brushing and glucose level control.

The findings were presented at the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists annual meeting. One of the studies was conducted in the United States, with others being conducted in Turkey, India, and other parts of the world. Most adults who brushed their teeth twice a day reported having a better handle on their blood sugar levels. These levels of glucose control are measured through their A1C values. There were also some who had received health coaching, but the details and extent of this coaching weren’t explained in much detail. Meanwhile, those who had reported brushing their teeth less frequently also reported having worse periodontal disease outcomes.

The Cleveland Clinic healthessentials October 20, 2022 article, “How Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health”, speaks to how your teeth and gums have a huge role to play in other, more systemic health conditions. In this report, oral health is linked to whole-body health.  It stated that having problems with your teeth and gums could lead to other health issues like heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and pregnancy complications.  If researchers have concluded that proper oral hygiene helps with other health issues, it would only make sense that brushing your teeth would have a positive effect on blood sugar levels as well.

While these studies were able to find a correlation between brushing your teeth and glycemic control, further studies are needed to be conducted. There were many limitations within these studies that included: self-reported data, small sample sizes and lack of recent reports. Of the 11 studies conducted, only one study was published since 2016. Given the correlation between the two, it is very important for patients with Diabetes to see a dentist regularly and maintain good hygiene.

By: Morgan Malatesta, IDS Intern