People around the world are spending more time each day in the bathroom carefully washing their hands to prevent the spread of illness. We all might as well give our teeth an extra brushing while we’re at it. According to new research, brushing your teeth frequently may help to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
As reported recently by MSN Lifestyle, a Korean study of 188,013 men and women over the age of 53 found that compared with people who did not brush or only brushed their teeth once a day, those who brushed 3 times a day had a 3 percent reduced risk for diabetes. Participants of the 10-year study were all free from diabetes at the beginning of the study.
Brushing teeth regularly helps reduce inflammation and bacteria in the mouth which can affect systemic chronic diseases. By keeping the teeth and mouth healthy, more teeth can be preserved; the loss of 15 or more teeth was linked by researchers with a 21 percent increase in the risk of developing diabetes.
Gum disease (periodontitis) is also associated with cardiovascular disease, endocarditis (an infection of the lining of the heart) and pneumonia. According to the Mayo Clinic, people with gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar; good dental hygiene may help improve diabetes control.
In addition to keeping bacteria in the mouth under control with daily (two-minutes) of brushing at least twice a day and flossing, it’s important to visit a dentist regularly and as soon as any oral health problem occurs. Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3 months or sooner if bristles appear worn. Limit sugary foods and beverages, stop smoking, eat a healthy diet and use mouthwash to remove any remaining food particles left after brushing and flossing.
Elderly adults with dementia may need assistance brushing and flossing their teeth; worsening oral health is often associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Learn more about dental care and dementia by following this link to the Family Caregiver Alliance.