Many studies have concluded that people with gum disease have an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.
But a new study in PLOS ONE now takes it a few steps further, concluding that gum disease also causes type-2 diabetes and a decline in muscle strength.
The Japanese authors of this study noticed multiple previous studies that drew a connection between oral frailty and general frailty in elderly people. If you cannot chew properly, your diet will change and you may lose weight and become frail.
In response, they set out to discover whether oral frailty was associated with diabetes (due to a change in diet) and sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is a condition in which there is a decline in skeletal muscle mass and strength as a result of ageing.
They recruited 635 older adults between ages 40 and 74 in a small town called Ohnan in Shimane Prefecture in Japan.
The scientists first tested their subjects’ chewing ability by counting their teeth and by asking them to chew a gummy jelly as energetically as possible for 15 seconds.
When the subjects spat it out after these 15 seconds, some poor scientist collected and counted the pieces to assess how well they could chew.
Following that, the researchers checked the participants’ diabetes status, by either performing a blood test or analyzing their medical records to see whether they had been diagnosed with diabetes.
They tested the participants’ sarcopenia status by measuring their handgrip strength, calf circumference, and skeletal muscle index (a measurement of muscle mass), as well as by using an algorithm that accounted for muscle strength, muscle mass, and physical performance, to reach a provisional diagnosis of sarcopenia.
With all this information at hand, they discovered that having fewer teeth and a poorer chewing ability were definitively associated with a weaker handgrip and sarcopenia. Furthermore, they were also associated with diabetes.
Skeletal muscle mass and calf circumference did not differ according to the number of teeth or chewing ability.
The researchers speculated that people with fewer teeth possibly chose softer sugar-rich foods, explaining the relationship with diabetes. Compare white and brown rice or white and brown bread in your head, and you will see the point. Healthy fibrous foods are harder to chew.
Sugar-rich foods increase blood sugar levels and eventually cause diabetes.
The lack of muscle strength is also easy to understand, either because poor chewers eat too little to sustain their bodies, or because they avoid substantial dishes that include proteins like meat or legumes that can build muscle.
At least this means that interventions to improve chewing ability, like dentures and treatment of gum disease to prevent further tooth loss, can break this association and combat this frailty and diabetes.
So there you go, treating gum disease is not a vanity. Fortunately, you can follow the examples of thousands of readers who have done so naturally, using the simple and natural steps explained here…
And if you’ve developed type-2 diabetes, learn the three steps to reverse it naturally here…