Big savings from oral health treatment of diabetes sufferers

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Gum disease is commonly found in diabetes sufferersA study in the UK has found that dealing with the oral health of diabetes sufferers soon after diagnosis can lead to substantial savings in medical treatments later on.

The research analysed data from 15,000 adults ranging in age from 18 – 64 soon after their diagnosis with type-2 diabetes. The study found a significant saving in healthcare costs—for those who treated oral health issues right away—of roughly £1,500 (approximately AUD$2930) over two years.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said that with 3.5 million diabetes sufferers in the UK such obvious a link should not be ignored.

“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.

“Over the next decade Type-2 diabetes is estimated to increase significantly to five million sufferers, placing an increased pressure upon NHS resources and finances at a time when it is really struggling in both of these areas.

“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.

“Giving patients the information and treatment they need to look after their gums it can help to preserve the oral health of million in the UK while also saving NHS coffers.”

The first step, said Michaela O’Neill president of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, is to take precautions for one the most common links between diabetes and oral health—gum disease.

“Gum disease can potentially lead to tooth loss and people with diabetes are more at risk of aggravating gum disease,” she said.

“It then becomes a vicious circle, as gum disease can increase blood sugar which can lead to an increased risk of diabetic complications.

“If you have any signs or symptoms make sure you get checked out by your dental health team as soon as possible for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums.

“If you are diabetic it’s important that you make sure that you inform your dental team so the correct treatment can be prescribed for you.

“Early oral health intervention for diabetic patients is a win-win for health services and patients alike.

“It could potentially save the NHS millions of pounds and also improve the oral and general health of patients, regular check-ups as part of early treatment is an easy and effective way of doing this.

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