Oral Health and Diabetes: An Important Relationship

New research out of the UK shows that addressing oral health issues in diabetic patients leads to substantial savings in future medical treatments, according to a recent article from the Oral Health Foundation. The study involved the analysis of data from over 15,000 adults ages 18-64 who had recently been diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes. The data showed that those who received treatment for gum disease at an early stage had an average savings of nearly £1,500 in healthcare costs over a period of two-years.

“The link between oral health and serious systemic diseases has become increasingly obvious over recent years and one of the clearest relationships which we have seen is with diabetes,” said Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation. “By providing effective treatment for gum disease at an early stage we believe there are potentially considerable cost savings to be had for the health services.”

Not only can the investment in oral health lead to substantial savings, but it can also help provide patients with a better quality of life. As the number of patients suffering from Type-2 diabetes continues to rise, along with the national struggle to keep up with medical expenses, putting a priority on oral health should really take center stage in the UK and the rest of the world.

Gum disease is a progressive condition that affects the tissue that support the teeth. As the disease worsens, the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, ultimately leading to tooth loss if left untreated. Early indications of gum disease include blood on your toothbrush or in the sink when brushing,  painful, red and swollen gums, as well as bad breath and/or a bad taste left in the mouth. For patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is especially important to be on the lookout for these symptoms. If any of these signs are detected, make an appointment with your dentist and be sure to disclose your medical history. Gum disease is mostly preventable with proper dental hygiene and regular visits to your dentist. Don’t hesitate in making your appointment. It could end up saving you not only money, but pain and suffering too.

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