Leading Swedish oral hygiene company TePe, renowned for their interdental brushes, have shared new results from a survey commissioned by the British Society of Periodontology, examining the prevalence of gum disease among the diabetes community[i]. In the survey, taken by over 700 people, results highlighted that almost half had never been given information on the implications of gum disease for their diabetic condition and were also unaware of the symptoms of gum disease. 

Gum disease is caused by the build-up of plaque and is often without symptoms in its early stages. The signs of gum disease include bleeding on brushing, sometimes tenderness when cleaning and bad breath.  Gum disease, if  not treated can lead to tooth loss. 

Elaine Tilling, Head of Clinical Education at TePe UK advises: “This research indicates that many diabetes sufferers are unaware of the symptoms of gum disease, which is of concern; particularly when this can affect their blood sugar control, putting their health at increased risk. Maintaining a high standard of oral health is critical to the management of their overall health. Including interdental cleaning into a daily routine is the only way to ensure effective plaque removal from all the tooth surfaces.  A toothbrush alone, cannot reach the areas in between the teeth where most dental diseases start. 

The survey also supports the trend towards the nations less frequent attendance at the dentist which for diabetics means less dedicated professional support for their oral health.   Diabetics are encouraged to visit their dental care team at least every six months.  Preventing gum disease in this group is a simple and cost-effective way of maintaining both their general and oral health.

[i] Report on survey of awareness and experiences of gum disease in community members