Oral health link to diabetes treatment costs

June 21st, 2016

A recent study has found that there is a ‘statistically significant association’ between how seriously oral health is taken by those newly diagnosed with diabetes, and overall healthcare costs of those patients. It has therefore been suggested that, by investing time and money into supporting diabetes sufferers with their oral health, substantial savings could be made in future medical treatments.

The study had a sample group of 15,000 18-64 year olds who had been recently diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes. Over a two-year period, it was found that those who had gum disease treated at an early stage had an average saving of £1,500 over that time. Across the population of people diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes each year, this represents a significant saving.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation reported that the findings of this study support the trend which we have seen over recent years whereby oral health and systematic diseases appear to be inextricably linked. Dr Carter also advises that early treatment of gum disease not only saves the NHS substantial amounts of money, but also improves the quality of life of patients.

For those with diabetes, gum disease is a particular risk. Gum disease can increase blood sugar levels, which can lead to diabetic complications. Those with diabetes should inform their dentist that they have the condition, so that their dentist can deliver their treatment with this in mind and provide advice on how to manage the risk of gum disease.

Gum disease is a problem we all need to be aware of. It causes problems for the tissues around our teeth in our gums, tissues which are vital for supporting our teeth and keeping them healthy. If these tissues are damaged, the bone which attaches the tooth to the jaw is lost. Initially this may make teeth start to feel a bit loose, but as time progresses teeth could fall out altogether.

Look out for blood on your tooth brush when you brush your teeth, or the taste of blood whilst you are eating. You may also notice that your breath becomes unpleasant. You can avoid gum disease by making sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth. You’ll need to use interdental brushes or floss to clean in between your teeth every day. If you have any concerns about your teeth, speak to your dentist and get it checked out straight away. Problems are always easier to treat the earlier they are noticed.

For more information visit the Oral Health Foundation website.

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