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The oral complications of diabetes are often ignored

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Diabetes UK recently estimated that people with diabetes are three times more likely to develop gum disease than those without diabetes.1

Periodontal health has been under-recognised as an additional complication of living with diabetes, and is sometimes referred to as the 'sixth complication'. 2

Researchers in Newcastle have found that periodontitis occurs more commonly in children and young adults with type 1 diabetes and is three times more common in people with type 2 diabetes than those without diabetes.3

Nurses need to be more diabetes aware and to appreciate that diabetes is a major risk factor for increased incidence of periodontitis, and gum disease should be considered as a potential sign of pre-diabetes.

Box 1. Symptoms of periodontitis
  • Red, swollen and bleeding gums.
  • Receding gums.
  • Loose teeth.
  • Persistent bad breath.
  • Dentures that are loose or no longer fitting (not associated with weight loss or gain).
  • Pus between teeth and gums.
  • A change in bite or jaw alignment.

What is periodontitis?


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