Oral Health, Diabetes, and Inflammation: Effects of Oral Hygiene Behaviour

Huabin Luo, Bei Wu, Angela R. Kamer, Samrachana Adhikari, Frank Sloan, Brenda L. Plassman, Chenxin Tan, Xiang Qi, Mark D. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The aim of this research was to assess the association between inflammation and oral health and diabetes, as well as the mediating role of oral hygiene practice in this association. Methods: Data were from the 2009–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The analytical sample consisted of 2,191 respondents aged 50 and older. Poor oral health was clinically defined by significant tooth loss (STL) and periodontal disease (PD). Diabetes mellitus (DM) was determined by glycemic levels. The outcome variable was serum C-reactive protein (CRP) level, dichotomised as ≥1 mg/dL (elevated CRP) vs <1 mg/dL (not elevated CRP). Two path models, one using STL and DM as the independent variable, the other using PD and DM as the independent variable, were estimated to assess the direct effects of having poor oral health and DM on elevated CRP and the mediating effects of dental flossing. Results: In path model 1, individuals having both STL and DM (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.30–2.82) or having STL alone (AOR, 2.30; 95% CI, 1.68–3.15) were more likely to have elevated CRP than those with neither STL nor DM; dental flossing (AOR, 0.92, 95% CI, 0.88–0.96) was associated with lower risk of elevated CRP. In path model 2, no significant association was found between having both PD and DM and elevated CRP; dental flossing (AOR, 0.91; 95% CI:, 0.86–0.94) was associated with lower risk of elevated CRP. Conclusions: Findings from this study highlight the importance of improving oral health and oral hygiene practice to mitigate inflammation. Further research is needed to assess the longer-term effects of reducing inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-490
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Dental Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation
  • Periodontal disease
  • Tooth loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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