Do you know the link between diabetes and gum disease?

Nearly a quarter of Australian adults are diagnosed with moderate or severe gum disease.

When was the last time you saw your dentist?

If this is not a regular visit in your diary, you may want to think twice before skipping your next appointment.

This Dental Health Week (August 6-12), the Australian Dental Association (ADA) NSW is highlighting the links between gum disease and diabetes and reminding people with the disease, to see their dentist for regular check-ups.

Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia, with 280 people developing the disease every day.

Around 1.7 million Australians are living with diabetes, including an estimated 500,000 who have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a chronic inflammatory condition that can go unnoticed until it has progressed to a serious stage, where teeth become loose and can ultimately be lost.

Nearly a quarter of Australian adults are diagnosed with moderate or severe gum disease.

ADA NSW President Dr Neil Peppitt said if you have gum disease, it may be an early sign of pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

“People should visit their dentist for regular check-ups and this is particularly important for people with diabetes,” Dr Peppitt said.

“When diabetes is well managed, gum disease is much more successfully managed.

“See your dentist at least once a year, or as recommended by your health professional.”

Head of Western Sydney Diabetes, Professor Glen Maberly said Type 2 diabetes is often silent and people can be living with the disease for up to seven years without knowing it.

“Visiting your dentist regularly is a great way to ensure both diabetes and gum disease are picked up and treated early.”

Oral health tips for people living with diabetes

  • Visit your dental professional regularly and let them know you have diabetes
  • Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to remove dental plaque and protect against gum disease and cavities
  • Floss or use interdental cleaners daily to remove dental plaque from between the teeth
  • If you wear dentures, rinse them with water after each meal and clean them thoroughly each day with a denture brush and recommended denture cleaner. Make sure you leave them out overnight or spend several hours a day not wearing them. Brush your gums and tongue with a soft toothbrush to keep the mouth clean and healthy
  • Make healthy food and drink choices. Tap water is the best drink for good oral health
  • Don’t smoke. Ask your doctor or dentist for help with quitting or call the Quitline on 137 848