As the link between oral health and serious systemic diseases has become increasingly more obvious in recent years, many have keenly sought to establish the severity of how one can affect the other. In doing so, professionals have been able to identify that diabetes bears a particularly distinct relationship with oral health – indeed, research has shown that diabetic patients are extremely susceptible to diseases affecting the teeth and gingiva.
Today, there are approximately 3.5 million people in the UK that have been diagnosed with diabetes, not to mention the estimated 549,000 people that studies propose haven’t yet been diagnosed. By 2025, it is predicted that as many as five million will have the disease, [i] which may well propel the already common health condition into contention as one of the leading health conditions in the UK.
Of the current number, it is thought that 90 per cent of patients with diabetes have what is known as Type 2, [ii] which is when the body either doesn't produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don't react to insulin. When diabetes isn’t treated it can cause serious, and sometimes irreversible long-term health problems including vision loss and blindness, kidney failure, and cardiovascular diseases.
Unfortunately, however, a study indicates that a low percentage of diagnosed patients are aware of the association between diabetes and oral health and the risks that they subject themselves to by ignoring potential symptoms.[iii] As research highlights that patients with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to suffer from xerostomia, periodontitis and caries lesions and have a greater need for periodontal treatment, caries prevention and prosthetic corrections,[iv] collaboration between patient and dentist is imperative.
For optimum results and to minimise potential risks as early as possible, it may be prudent to introduce patients to all the necessary information that they will need on their diagnosis and its link with their oral health. Indeed, if patients are made aware of the dangers of simple changes such as bleeding gums, bad breath and toothache in the early stages, their oral health could be brought under control before it gets to a critical condition.
The latest research has even identified that when attentiveness is paid to newly diagnosed patients – especially to their gingival health – there is huge potential for healthcare costs to be reduced. Analysis of data from more than 15,000 adults aged between 18 and 64 who were newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, found that an average saving of almost £1,500 in healthcare costs could be achieved if periodontal disease was treated at an early stage.[v]
Consequently, many now believe that if the NHS were to adopt a strategy of prioritising the oral health of those with diabetes and started taking immediate action after diagnosis, it would not only ensure better levels of oral health and quality of life for patients, but could also save the NHS millions of pounds.
In the meantime, practices should continue to encourage the implementation of an effective daily oral care regimen using a range of clinically proven products such as interdental brushes and mouthwashes. Indeed, as an adjunct to brushing, interdental brushes have been proven to remove more dental plaque than brushing alone. Research also denotes that the use of interdental brushes can make a significant difference to bleeding scores and probing pocket depth.[vi] Likewise, mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine have been found to be effective in inhibiting plaque formation, though in some cases the latter can cause tooth discolouration and impair taste.[vii]
Short-term studies also suggest that periodontal treatment could help improve glycaemic control in patients with Type 2 diabetes and periodontitis,[viii] which is crucial considering periodontal disease can have a negative impact on blood sugar levels and increase the risk of other diabetic complications. For effective, gentle interdental brushes that last five times longer than any other brush on the market and a full-effect chlorhexidine oral rinse that keeps side effects to a minimum, Curaprox oral healthcare solutions are ideal adjuncts for your patients with diabetes.
As it stands, diabetes remains a prevalent issue. However, if dental professionals remain dedicated to minimising the oral effects and symptoms of the condition through raising patient awareness, encouraging the use of simple yet effective products and arranging regular check-ups, it could make a huge difference to patients’ quality of life. That’s not no mention the positive impact it could have on the NHS. With your help, diabetes related oral health symptoms don't have to become an issue.
For more information please call 01480 862084, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.curaprox.co.uk
[i] Diabetes UK. Facts and Stats. Accessed online May 2016 at https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Documents/Position%20statements/Diabetes%20UK%20Facts%20and%20Stats_Dec%202015.pdf
[ii] HSCIC: National Diabetes Audit 2012-13:Report 1, Care Processes and Treatment Targets. Accessed online May 2016 at http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB14970
[iii] Preshaw P. ‘Oral health awareness in adult patients with diabetes: a questionnaire study’, Dental Journal, 2011: 211: 274 - 275
[iv] Sandberg GE, Sundberg HA, Fjellstrom CA, Wikblad KF. Type 2 diabetes and oral health: A comparison between diabetic and non-diabetic subjects. Diabetes research and Clinical Practice. 2000; 50 (1): 27-34. Accessed online May 2016 at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168822700001595
[v]Nasseh K, Vujicis M, Glick M. The Relationship between Periodontal Interventions and Healthcare Costs and Utilization. Evidence from an Integrated Dental, Medical, and Pharmacy Commercial Claims Database. Health Economics. January 2016.
[vi] Slot DE, Dörfer CE, Van der Weijden GA. The efficacy of interdental brushes on plaque and paramters of periodontal inflammation: a systematic review. International Journal of Dental Hygiene. 2008; 6 (4): 253-264. Accessed online May 2016 at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1601-5037.2008.00330.x/full
[vii] Laugisch O, Ramseier CA, Salvi GE, Hägi TT, Bürgin W, Eick S, Sculean A. Effects of two different post-surgical protocols including either 0.05% chlorhexidine herbal extract or 0.1% chlorhexidine on post-surgical plaque control, early wound healing and patient acceptance following standard periodontal surgery and implant placement. Clinical Oral Investigations. Published online January 2016. Accessed online May 2016 at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00784-016-1713-7
[viii] Botero JE, Rodriguez C and Agudelo-Suarez AA. Periodontal treatment and glycaemic control in patients with diabetes and periodontitis: an umbrella review. Published online February 2016. Accessed online May 2016 at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/adj.12413/abstract