Diabetes Q&A

Diabetes Risk Raised By Frequent Mouthwash Use

Using mouthwash at least twice a day was associated with an increased risk for developing pre-diabetes and diabetes among adults, according to a recent study.

For their study, the researchers analyzed data on 945 participants from 40 to 60 years of age involved in the San Juan Overweight Adults Longitudinal Study without diabetes or major cardiovascular disease at baseline. They used Poisson regression models to assess the association between diabetes risk and mouthwash use, adjusting for age, sex, smoking status, physical activity levels, waist circumference, alcohol consumption, prehypertension status, and time between visits during the 3 years of follow-up.
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Overall, 43% of participants reported using mouthwash at least once a day and 22% reported using mouthwash twice a day.

Participants who reported using mouthwash 2 times a day or more at baseline had a significantly increased risk for developing pre-diabetes and diabetes compared with less frequent users and never users. These effects were similar after the researchers adjusted for income, education, oral hygiene, oral conditions, sleep breathing disorder, diet, medications, homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance, fasting glucose, 2-hour post glucose load, and C-reactive protein level. Additionally, the researchers found that this association was significant among never-smokers and individuals with obesity.

However, mouthwash use lower than 2 times per day was not associated with an increased risk for developing diabetes, which suggested a threshold for this effect at 2 times or more.

“Frequent regular use of over-the-counter mouthwash was associated with increased risk of developing pre-diabetes/diabetes in this population,” the researchers concluded.

—Melissa Weiss


Joshipura KJ, Muñoz-Torres FJ, Patel RP. Morou-Bermudez E, Over-the-counter mouthwash use and risk of pre-diabetes/diabetes. Nitric Oxide. 2017; 71: 14-20.