Brushing teeth three times a day or more is linked to an 8% lower risk of developing diabetes, while presence of dental disease is associated with a 9% increased risk and many missing teeth (15 or more) is linked to a 21% increased risk. These findings underline the importance of good dental hygiene and are reported in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).
There were differences between men and women, with stronger associations between increasing brushing and reduced diabetes risk in women. For women, brushing 3 times or more per day or twice per day were associated with a 15% and 8% reduction respectively of developing diabetes, when compared with women brushing once a day or not at all. For men, there was only a 5% reduction in risk of diabetes for those brushing three times or more per day, compared with those brushing once a day or not at all. There was no statistically significant difference in risk between men brushing twice a day and those brushing once a day or not at all.
The authors concluded: "Frequent tooth brushing may decrease the risk of new-onset diabetes, and the presence of periodontal disease and increased number of missing teeth may increase that risk. Overall, improving oral hygiene may be associated with a decreased risk of occurrence of new-onset diabetes."