Diabetes Week and its links to oral health

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious condition where your blood glucose level is too high. There are two main types, Type 1 and Type 2. They’re different conditions, but they’re both serious. When you’ve got Type 1 diabetes, you can’t make any insulin at all, and for Type 2 diabetes, the insulin you make either can’t work effectively, or you can’t produce enough of it.

According to Diabetes UK, one in 15 people in the UK have diabetes, including one million people who have Type 2, but haven’t been diagnosed.

Diabetes Week runs from 10th 16th June 2019, marking a leading campaign from one of our partners, Diabetes UK, to raise awareness and increase understanding of diabetes.

So how does diabetes link to your oral health?

Every year, more studies are discovering connections between your oral health and general health. Our recent Consumer Oral Health Survey 2019*, found that 75% agree that poor oral health can have a significant impact on overall general health. However, only 13% of people think that poor oral health can be linked to diabetes; so this is why Diabetes Week is important to talk about.

Keeping your mouth, teeth and gums healthy is important for everyone, and plays a big part in helping managing your diabetes.

Did you know that people with Type 2 diabetes are around three times more likely to develop dental problems than people who don’t have diabetes?**

“It’s important for everyone to start thinking about how their oral health might impact on their general wellbeing. This is especially important if you’re at high risk of developing diabetes in the future or already been diagnosed.” Says Dr Catherine Rutland, Head Dental Officer at Simplyhealth.

“Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing oral health issues such as dry mouth, gum disease, and mouth infections, but these can be managed with the help of their dental practice team.”

A thorough flossing and brushing routine is essential to keep your gums and teeth healthy, and you may benefit from regularly using mouthwash. Sipping water and chewing sugar free-gum can also help to ease dry mouth and keep your breath fresh. Regular visits to the dentist will identify risks and prevent further complications down the line.

Any little steps we can take to maintain a healthy mouth and lifestyle now could be helpful in preventing diabetes developing in the future, and reducing risks for diagnosed diabetics. For more oral health advice take a look at our other blog posts, or visit www.diabetes.org.uk for more information.

*Simplyhealth Consumer Oral Health Survey 2019. Online survey of 5083 adults conducted by Dynata (formally Research Now SSI) on behalf of Simplyhealth, undertaken 24 January – 5 February 2019. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (18+).

**Diabetes UK

Diabetes week 2019