Mouthwash Use Linked to Diabetes


Touted as a cure for bad breath and widely marketed for its’ bacteria-killing effects, mouthwash is a part of many peoples’ oral care routine.


But, could that mouthwash be doing you more harm than good?


Well, according to a new study, if you use it twice or more per day the answer to that question is yes.


In the study published in the journal Nitric Oxide, researchers studied the effects of regular mouthwash use over a period of three years.


What they found was shocking.


Participants in the study who used mouthwash twice (or more) daily were significantly more likely to develop prediabetes/diabetes than individuals using mouthwash less frequently or not at all.


The researchers controlled for known diabetes risk factors such as age, sex, smoking, physical activity, waist circumference, alcohol consumption, and hypertension. Therefore, the results could be reliably attributed to mouthwash use.


Poor oral health has been linked to a number of more serious health conditions, particularly heart disease. But, nobody really knows why.


Some recent research studies have shown that bacteria in the mouth (the oral microbiome) such as Actinobacteria, are inversely linked to diabetes risk – when the bacteria are absent, an individual is at greater risk of developing diabetes.


The problem with mouthwash is that it kills bacteria indiscriminately, both good bacteria and bad bacteria.


The researchers think that using mouthwash twice or more per day for a long period of time increases the risk of developing diabetes by killing the good bacteria in the mouth.   


There is still a lot of work to be done to figure out the exact mechanisms and which bacteria are most important, but for now, it may be prudent to limit mouthwash use to once per day.