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?