The Hidden Danger of Mouthwash: Two Daily Uses Predispose to Diabetes

A new study warns about the indiscriminate use of this pure product, which can kill microorganisms useful for the organism.

Among the tips associated with good oral hygiene is usually the use of mouthwash, a type of liquid intended for the elimination of bacteria harmful to the teeth. In fact, its use should be daily according to experts in the field, to have multiple benefits and no side effects, or at least that was previously thought.

Now, a new study published in Nitric Oxide by researchers at Harvard University has put the spotlight on such mouthwashes, suggesting that the excessive use of this antibacterial liquid could also kill microorganisms beneficial to oral health, something that in consequence would end up increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes.

Mouthwash, a set of risks and benefits

Supposedly the mouthwash should be explicitly directed at the bacteria causing plaque and bad breath. However, this new study ensures that its effect is indiscriminate, and also ends with bacteria whose goal is to protect the health of the teeth.

This is what the researchers at Harvard University say after studying more than 1,200 individuals who used this antibacterial fluid an average of twice a day. According to their findings, these individuals had up to 55% more risk of developing pre-diabetes - high blood sugar without reaching the diagnosis of diabetes - or directly diabetes mellitus type 2 in a time of three years.

It should be noted that, in previous studies, it has been shown that poor oral hygiene leads to health problems in different parts of the body. Therefore, this would be the first investigation that would indicate that some theoretically actual practices, whose objective is to achieve this kind state of health, would also have unwanted or unexpected adverse side effects.

According to Kaumudi Joshipura, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, the reality is that many of the ingredients in these oral rinses are not selective. They are not directed against certain bacteria but can kill various types of bacteria.

The study on the risk of oral rinsing

For the study, we analyzed a total of 1,206 overweight people between 40 and 65 years on average, which already were at risk of diabetes. During the study, 17% of those individuals ended up developing pre-diabetes or diabetes, but that percentage rose to 20% in those who used mouthwash once a day and up to 30% for those who used it twice a day.

Professor Joshipura suggests that protective bacteria of oral health would also be able to reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity and that among them there would be some that produce nitric oxide, which helps regulate insulin levels and metabolism in general, in addition to keeping sugar levels under control.

Currently, mouth rinses contain various types of substances, such as chlorhexidine, triclosan, cetylpyridinium chloride, alcohol, essential oils, fluoride, and peroxide. All these materials have the antiseptic capacity, that is, they are capable of killing various types of microorganisms. However, they are not specific, so they would also be able to shoot useful bacteria for the body, thus leaving the way free to other potentially harmful bacteria that have not been eliminated by daily oral hygiene.

In fact, another study published earlier in the Journal of Periodontal Research concluded that some bacteria that reside in the mouth of humans have a protective potential against both diabetes and obesity; On the other hand, another study from 2013 also suggested that mouthwash can decrease the production of nitric oxide in the mouth by up to 90%, something that would reduce this substance in blood by up to 25%, leading to changes in blood pressure systemic as a consequence.

In conclusion, the Harvard researchers warn that the indiscriminate use of mouthwash, thinking it is safe, can do more harm than good, and should be regulated based on these new jobs.

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