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Gargling with antiseptic mouthwash may help reduce 'bad' bacteria in diabetes patients: Study

A recent study suggests gargling with an antiseptic mouthwash may help reduce periodontitis-related bacteria in diabetes patients, offering a simple way to improve overall health.

Muskan Gupta Written By: Muskan Gupta New Delhi Published on: February 20, 2024 12:46 IST
Image Source : FREEPIK Gargling with antiseptic mouthwash may reduce 'bad' bacteria in diabetes patients: Study

Maintaining good oral hygiene is not just about fresh breath and healthy gums; it could also play a significant role in managing systemic diseases like Type 2 diabetes. A recent study conducted by researchers from Osaka University in Japan suggests that gargling with an antiseptic mouthwash may help reduce the presence of periodontitis-related bacteria in diabetes patients, potentially offering a simple yet effective way to improve their overall health.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, sheds light on the connection between oral inflammation, particularly gum disease, and serious medical conditions such as Alzheimer's Disease and Type 2 diabetes. Lead author Saaya Matayoshi and her team explored whether gargling with an antiseptic mouthwash containing chlorhexidine gluconate. She said, "There are three highly virulent bacterial species that are linked to periodontitis, or diseases of the tissues surrounding the teeth."

Saaya added, "We decided to see if we could reduce these three species -- Porphyromonas gingivalis, Treponema denticola, and Tannerella forsythia -- in patients with Type 2 diabetes using a mouthwash containing the antiseptic chlorhexidine gluconate."

The researchers conducted a six-month study where participants first gargled with water for the initial period and then switched to antiseptic mouthwash for the subsequent six months. The findings revealed a notable reduction in the targeted bacterial species among those who consistently gargled with the antiseptic mouthwash twice a day. 

Conversely, gargling with water showed no significant effects on bacterial levels or HbA1c levels, a marker of blood sugar control in diabetes patients. "We were unsurprised to see that gargling with water had no effects on bacterial species or HbA1c levels," explained Kazuhiko Nakano, from the varsity.

"However, there was an overall reduction in bacterial species when the patients switched to mouthwash, as long as they were gargling at least twice a day," Nakano added.

Interestingly, the study observed significant variations in individual responses to the antiseptic mouthwash. Younger patients, in particular, experienced greater reductions in bacterial species and showed significant improvements in blood sugar control compared to older patients. While the overall HbA1c levels did not change significantly, the potential for individualized benefits suggests promising future clinical applications for this simple oral hygiene intervention.

The implications of these findings extend beyond diabetes management. Poor oral health has been linked to a range of serious diseases, including dementia, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory tract infections. Therefore, simple strategies to improve oral hygiene, such as gargling with antiseptic mouthwash, could have far-reaching benefits for overall health and well-being.

(with IANS inputs)

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