November 28, 2017

This common oral hygiene habit could increase risk for diabetes, study says

It can also throw off your metabolism

Think twice before reaching for that mouthwash.

A recent study from Harvard University found a connection between gargling mouthwash and type-2 diabetes. 

Though a swig after brushing may help to eradicate some bacteria in your mouth, not all anti-bacteria solutions are a good thing. After studying 1,200 overweight people and their mouthwash habits, researchers found those using mouthwash twice (or more often) a day were 55 percent more likely to develop diabetes over a three-year period.

The danger comes from mouthwash’s inability to distinguish from bad bacteria (the kind causing morning breath and plaque) and good bacteria, such as the beneficial microbes that keep your metabolism and blood sugar levels in check. Without that helpful bacteria, the risk for obesity, diabetes, and other health conditions could increase.

“Most of these antibacterial ingredients in mouthwash are not selective,” said study co-author Kaumudi Joshipura to the Telegraph. “In other words, they do not target specific oral bacteria. Instead, these ingredients can act on a broad range of bacteria.”

In fact, the rate of diabetes or pre-diabetes rose from 17 to 20 percent in study participants using mouth wash once a day. For those using it twice a day, the rate increased to 30 percent.

Consider the findings just another reason you should stop pretending you can replace flossing with mouthwash – flossing is far more effective at protecting you from tooth decay.

Check out the full study here