More guidance needed on importance of oral health for diabetics

Thu, 29 Sep 2011
A new study has highlighted the importance of oral health for people with diabetes, and the general lack of awareness of the link between the two. It was shown that poor oral health can lead to a greater risk of developing complications from type 2 diabetes, and that problems such as inflammation from swollen gums can make diabetes worse, as well as having a negative impact on cardiovascular disease and oral cancer.

The research, which surveyed 229 diabetic adults and was published in the British Dental Journal, also claimed that a long history of poorly controlled diabetes could hasten the progression of gum disease, but that there was little awareness of a link between dental health and a worsening general health.

The survey revealed that just 13 per cent of respondents realised that tender or swollen gums could be affected by their diabetes (and vice versa), while only 12 per cent knew of a link between loose teeth and diabetes.

The report stated "Dental and oral self-care tasks were rated as less important than other diabetes self-care tasks, such as taking prescribed medication or having regular eye checks."

The British Dental Association (BDA) agreed that the research had added to the evidence of a link between oral health and general health and well-being, and that healthcare professionals needed to do more to alert people with diabetes to this risk.
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