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Dental Hygiene Newswire

News and research for Ontario dental hygienists

Toothbrushing and glycemic control in diabetes

The relationship between type 2 diabetes and periodontal disease has been shown to be complex and bidirectional. Both type 2 diabetes and periodontitis involve inflammatory dysregulation and have been suggested to contribute to systemic inflammatory burden.

Regular toothbrushing was associated with better oral health outcomes and glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetes Spectrum.


Given the bidirectional relationship between type 2 diabetes and periodontal disease, this study sought to compile the available data regarding the relationship between home oral hygiene, specifically toothbrushing, and glycemic control and oral health in people with type 2 diabetes.


A systematic scoping review was conducted using a combination of controlled vocabulary and keyword terms for type 2 diabetes and home oral care in PubMed and CINHAL. Publications from the past 20 years were considered for inclusion. Study data were summarized.


A total of 11 studies met the inclusion criteria. In all survey research identified, self-report of more frequent toothbrushing in people with type 2 diabetes was always found to be associated with self-report of better glycemic control and was often associated with better clinician-conducted measures oral health. In the interventional studies, oral health coaching when compared to oral health education alone was associated with enhanced improvements in glycemic control measures, oral health, and self-reported toothbrushing.


The available data suggest improved engagement in toothbrushing behaviour may be associated with improved oral health and better glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes. Whether improvement in glycemic control is a direct result of change to the oral environment, succeeding with one behaviour change stimulating engagement in other health behaviour changes, a combination of the two, or something else cannot be determined from this review. Additional studies are needed to further explore the potential for oral health coaching to improve the well-being of people with type 2 diabetes.

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