Do You Know That:

As a person living with diabetes that you are at 3 to 4 times greater risk of developing periodontitis (gum) disease than a non-diabetic? This rises to 10 times if you smoke.

There is a two-way link between diabetes and gum disease, the one disease affecting the other and vice versa, although the cause remains unknown.

If you control gum disease it can improve your blood sugar control, reduce your risk of hyperglycaemia, and reduce the risks of the other known five diabetic’s complications.

If you have gum disease it can induce Type 2 diabetes and pre-eclampsia.

In June 2022 the National Institute for Clinical Excellence have, for the first time, added dental questions to the annual check list your doctor will make. Unfortunately:

  • They have not told dentists, who may not have spare capacity to accept new patients referred for a dental opinion by their doctor
  • Have not advised doctors what information they need from dentists to assess your gum health.
  • Have not advised how dentists and dentists should work together to improve your health.
  • Have not asked dentists or doctors to share their test results with you.

You have a legal right to this information, in the UK given by the Access to Medical Records Act of 1991. Make sure you obtain the following information:

From your doctor your HbA1c blood test percentage results. Your doctor will try to keep this below 6.5 per cent, low risk. Your risk rises to medium at 6.5 to 8.5 per cent and high above 8.5 per cent.

From your dentist ask for your Basic Periodontal Examination (BPE) scores. These are six numbers ranging from 0 to 4*. For details of what these numbers mean see that section on the Home Page. 0 and 1 are low risk, 2 and 3 medium risk, and 4 or 4* high risk.

Take Control of Your Health

This is what you can do to help yourself.

  • Always follow your doctor’s advice regarding your medical care. If you smoke, ask about one of the smoke-stop programmes that might help you.
  • Follow dental advice if you are already receiving dental care.
  • Record your own HbA1c and BPE scores on your personal record form and update them when you visit your doctor and dentist. Show your result to them, and if you can, give them a photocopy for their records. Compare your results with the previous ones. Are they getting better, staying the same or getting worse? If your results are getting worse or either are in the high-risk categories ask questions about your treatment, and what more can be done to help you prevent complications and reduce your risks.

Control Your Plaque & Improve Your Dental Health

If your gums have receded do not use floss, use interspace brushes. Make sure you are using the correct size brush in each space. Just a small and large size is unlikely to remove all the plaque. Check for yourself which brush to use and create your own unique record using a Chooseabrush® chart.

Brush your teeth twice a day. Remember, bleeding gums are never normal and are a sign that they are unhealthy. Gum Disease is caused by plaque. Make sure you remove as much as you can every day.

Download this useful form to keep your own personal record