Study: Frequent Tooth Brushing May Reduce Risk of Disease

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. hygiene / ˈhaɪ dʒin / (n) – the things someone does to stay clean or healthy

    Washing hands before a meal is good personal hygiene.

  2. infection / ɪnˈfɛk ʃən / (n) – a disease caused by bacteria or virus entering the body

    Cleaning the wound can prevent infection.

  3. acquire / əˈkwaɪər / (v) – to get something

    The doctor said that it is common for older people to acquire heart diseases.

  4. prone / proʊn / (adj) – describing the likelihood of having something

    Lack of sleep can make someone prone to headaches.

  5. keep track of (something) / kip træk əv / (idiom) – to observe something carefully

    My friend keeps track of airline sales online so we can travel affordably.


Read the text below.

New research revealed that brushing teeth frequently may prevent diabetes.

Inflammation in the body is often linked to developing diabetes or high blood sugar. According to researchers from Seoul, poor oral hygiene and infection of the gums lead to or worsen inflammation in the body. Conversely, good oral hygiene can prevent diabetes that develops from inflammation.

The study’s findings reveal that relative to people who brushed once a day or less, those who brushed at least three times daily had an 8% reduced risk of acquiring the disease. Those who brushed twice daily, on the other hand, had a 3% reduced risk. The study also found that people who previously showed signs of gum disease were 9% more prone to diabetes, while those who lost 15 teeth and above were 21% more at risk.

Medical experts looked into nearly 190,000 participants’ oral hygiene practices throughout the 10-year duration of the study. They also kept track of the subjects’ health records.

The researchers noted that more than 17% of the participants showed early signs of having periodontal disease, an infection of the gums caused by improper oral hygiene. After a follow-up session with the participants within the 10-year time frame, the researchers reported that 16% of the subjects developed diabetes.

Despite the health benefits of frequent tooth brushing, the lead author of the study advised that a generally healthy lifestyle has more impact than proper oral hygiene in preventing diabetes. Nonetheless, the researcher added that tooth brushing lessened some inflammation.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think this study can encourage people to develop better oral hygiene? Why or why not?
• Would you consider participating in a study like this? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• How important is it to have good personal hygiene? Discuss.
• What hygienic practices would you like scientists to study more about (e.g. handwashing, taking a bath)? Why?