Defend against decay caused by diabetes – Diabetes Week 2018 – 11-17th June

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  Posted by: Dental Design      6th June 2018










AUTHOR:  Helen Minnery President BSDHT   


Diabetes has fast become one of the most prevalent long-term conditions in the UK. Since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has risen from 1.4 million to an astonishing 3.5 million, and this number doesn’t even include the half a million people who are estimated to be living with the condition undiagnosed.[i] This means that as many as 1 in 16 people throughout Great Britain has diabetes, and this number is only going to increase should action against the disease not be taken.

Due to the high blood glucose levels individuals with diabetes have, they are at risk of a number of further complications that can affect their heart, kidneys, eyes and feet among many others. Though there are two types of diabetes, both conditions present similar problems as both groups involve insufficient insulin in the pancreas to correctly process blood glucose – something which can even lead to fatal consequences if the condition isn’t managed properly.


Bad news for oral health

As well as causing difficulties related to general health, diabetes has been found to exacerbate a number of oral health conditions as well. Periodontitis is a common inflammatory infection that affects around 10-15% of adults globally, and among this number it has been found that diabetics are three times more likely to suffer from the disease than individuals without the condition.[ii]

This is likely because individuals affected by diabetes have a much higher glucose level in their saliva. The presence of higher amounts of glucose encourages bacteria to stick to the teeth, which leads to the formation of more plaque.[iii] This can develop into periodontal diseases that may cause irreversible effects such as gum recession and tooth loss.

Furthermore, it has been found that diabetic individuals who are affected by severe periodontitis are more susceptible to other complications. Research shows that those with both conditions have a much higher chance of kidney disease and heart-related problems, both of which can be fatal.[iv]


Raise awareness

In light of these health concerns it’s more important than ever for dental professionals to help diabetic patients practise good oral hygiene. Diabetes Week 2018 takes place from 11-17th June this year, and is the perfect opportunity for everyone to get involved and raise awareness for the condition and the effects it can have on oral health.

By posting on social media using the hashtags #diabetesweek and #talkaboutdiabetes you can share the best cleaning tips and encourage diabetic patients to visit their dental hygienists and dental therapists more, ensuring their teeth get the thorough cleaning they need in order to avoid complications further down the line. The theme of the event this year is breaking down the barriers that people living with the condition may have and encouraging conversation. So why not host a fundraiser or encourage diabetic individuals to seek the dental care they need?

Diabetes UK has a number of downloadable resources available for people looking to get involved, all of which can be found here:

Diabetes is a very real threat to a high proportion of the population. By taking a stand against the condition, encouraging diabetics to manage their oral health properly and to partake in active conversation, dental professionals can help those affected with the condition to live longer, healthier lives.


For more information about the BSDHT, please visit,

call 01788 575050 or email



[i] Diabetes prevalence. Link: [Last accessed May 18].

[ii] Preshaw, P., Alba, A., Herrera, D., Jepsen, S., Konstantinidis, A., Makrilakis, K., Taylor, R. Periodontitis and Diabetes: A Two-Way Relationship. Diabetologia. 2012; 55(1): 21–31.

[iii] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetes, Gum Disease and Other Dental Problems. Link: [Last accessed May 18].

[iv] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetes, Gum Disease and Other Dental Problems. Link: [Last accessed May 18].

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