Diabetes affects one in 16 people in the UK, but this is projected to rise in the coming years.
While being overweight is known to raise risk of type 2 diabetes, new research has suggested that mouthwash could be one of the triggers for the condition.
A new study has revealed that rinsing your mouth with the anti-bacterial fluid could be wiping out beneficial bacteria.
The lack of ‘good’ bacteria in the mouth, say Harvard scientists, may then allow diabetes to develop.
In fact, researchers found that those who use mouthwash twice a day were 55 per cent more likely to develop diabetes, or the stage before – known as prediabetes – within just three years.
Mouthwash contains ingredients designed to kill bacteria in order to freshen breath.
However, it ends up eliminated the ‘good’ bacteria as well as the ‘bad’.
The former are important for helping the body produce nitric oxide which can regulate insulin levels.
“Most of these antibacterial ingredients in mouthwash are not selective,” said Professor Kaumudi Joshipura, from the Harvard School of Public Health.
“In other words, they do not target specific oral bacteria-instead, these ingredients can act on a broad range of bacteria.”
The researchers looked at 1,206 overweight people aged 40 to 65 who were categorised as at risk of diabetes.
By the end of the study, 17 per cent had developed diabetes.
However, this rose to 20 per cent for people using mouthwash once a day, and 30 per cent if mouthwash was used both in the morning and evening.
Common ingredients in mouthwashes include alcohol, fluoride, peroxide, cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine.
The combination is intended to combat bad breath.
However, if you want to boost levels of ‘good’ bacteria in your mouth, and expert last week told Express.co.uk that brushing your teeth with probiotics could help provide benefits to digestion, immunity and stress levels.