A new survey finds that 50 per cent of people with diabetes have never been given any information on the risks of gum disease by their dentist.
Having diabetes increases the risk of gum disease, known as periodontitis, because high blood sugar levels over time causes elevated glucose in the saliva. This can then lead to gum damage.
To promote Gum Health Awareness Day in the UK, Diabetes.co.uk has partnered with the British Society of Periodontology to raise awareness of gum and dental health among the diabetes community.
In an ongoing survey on gum health, we asked 700 people if they knew the risk factors for gum disease and how this could be prevented.
Fifty per cent weren’t aware of the risks, while a third of participants were unaware that diabetes affects gum health, despite 75 per cent reporting having bleeding gums.
Professor Ian Needlema, President of the BSP comments “Gum disease is a well recognised complication of diabetes and impairs quality of life. [It] can affect diabetes control and is associated with poorer general health outcomes.”
There is evidence to suggest that gum disease can also increase blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, with both conditions intrinsically linked.
Maintaining good oral health is therefore of vital importance for people with diabetes, who should ensure they receive annual dental check-ups, including a gum health review.
Charlotte Summers, COO of Diabetes.co.uk, said: “To be involved in this campaign and raise awareness about the links between gum disease and diabetes amongst both the diabetes community and healthcare professionals is of great importance to us.
“The results of the survey show that more education around the conditions is key and our aim is to help ensure the diabetes community gets the access to information and education to promote better health outcomes”.
This survey will be re-done in six months’ time to assess the effects of Gum Health Awareness Day in improving education of gum disease within the diabetes community.

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