Possible link found between mouthwash and diabetes

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Mouthwash plays a predominate role in the drug store aisle. Some companies make a lot of claims.

No one disputes the products kill germs. But too much mouthwash can lead to bad things.

“It is an antibacterial. It does kill bacteria in your mouth both good and bad," says Dr. Brandi Dupont, Chief Dental Officer with the Community Health Alliance.

A study released last November shows that of the 1,206 participating patients, those who used mouthwash more than twice a day ran a greater risk of developing diabetes over three years. That’s when compared to those patients who used mouthwash only once a day.

All these patients were overweight, which is a risk factor for diabetes. However, researchers say mouthwash kills the bacteria that forms nitric oxide, which helps insulin function properly in the body.

Insulin is needed to help cells take in sugar for energy.

Dupont says ironically, diabetes can cause bad breath, so these patients are actually trying to suppress a symptom of a disease they may not know they have and are exacerbating the problem.

Other causes of bad breath include dental problems, sinus infection, certain medications, or smoking.

It's recommended you use mouthwash no more than once a day. Dr. Dupont recommends one containing fluoride, as we don't have that in our local water system.

A less expensive and more effective way to combat bad breath: she says try brushing or scraping your tongue after brushing your teeth.