Using Korean government health records and self-reports, researchers gathered health and behavioural data on 188,013 men and women, average age 53, who were free from diabetes. More than 17 per cent had periodontal disease. Over the course of the 10-year study, 31,545 developed diabetes.

After controlling for age, sex, smoking and other factors, they found that people with periodontal disease had a 9 per cent increased risk for developing diabetes. The study is in Diabetologia.

Compared with people who did not brush or brushed only once a day, those who brushed twice a day had a 3 per cent reduced risk for diabetes, and those who brushed three times a day an 8 per cent reduced risk. The loss of 15 or more teeth was associated with a 21 per cent increased risk for developing diabetes.

Neither the number of visits to the dentist nor the frequency of professional tooth cleaning was associated with the incidence of diabetes. The lead author, Dr Yoonkyung Chang, professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, said healthy lifestyle had more powerful effects on diabetes prevention than tooth brushing.

The Daily Telegraph

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