A questionnaire study has now revealed that diabetics should more careful than the non-diabetic population in their oral hygiene. As per the study "Oral Health Awareness In Adult Patients With Diabetes", there is an increased risk that for those with blood sugar conditions, oral health is connected to developing complications of heart and even cancer.
The study which was published in the British Dental Journal (September 2011 issue) pointed that swollen gums can peg the acuity of diabetes. The inflammation may also lead to rise in the fatalities from oral cancer and pre-malignancies.
It further added that a bad oral hygiene routine could make diabetics suffering from cardiovascular diseases more sick. (1) It also stated that poorly-managed diabetes sped up the pace of development of gum diseases leading to loss of teeth and deterioration of gum health.
The researchers from Warwick Medical School studied 229 adults who were consulting for diabetes soon discovered that a majority of the populace were unaware of the link between their diabetes and their dental condition. In fact only 30 diabetics were aware that their swollen gums had roots in them suffering from diabetes. Still fewer knew that tender gums and loose teeth they had were due to their diabetes.
As per the researchers, “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. Around one-third of patients rated daily flossing as the least important health related activity.” (2)
Professor Walmsley who is the scientific advisor at the British Dental Association is of the belief that more and more studies are now showing the close connection between oral health and general well-being of a person, and in particular of those who suffer from certain types of illnesses.
He had advised the medical fraternity to make the patients of diabetes more aware of the oral link. Diabetes impacts other body parts as well, such as vision and feet. These have received more media attention, and thus public awareness, than the dental health angle which is now coming into picture.