NICE guidance on diabetes for dental teams in England

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued new guidance that highlights the role of dental teams in England as a key player in identifying high risk individuals.

Dental surgeries are among the healthcare settings cited in the guidance as central to identifying high risk individuals – particularly those less likely to attend a GP – providing risk assessments and encouraging patients to take them.

The guidance recommends that health and community centres, including dental surgeries, should offer validated self-assessment questionnaires or validated web-based tools and supply the information required to complete and interpret them.

Providers of the risk assessments are urged to explain to patients that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by making long-term lifestyle changes, and to discuss the consequences of developing the condition. High-risk patients should then be encouraged to contact their GP surgery for a blood test and referral to a local, evidence-based, quality-assured lifestyle-change programme, which should be tailored to individual needs.

Evidence suggests that the risk of type 2 diabetes can be reduced by almost 60 per cent if an individual adopts a healthier lifestyle. The disease currently affects over 2.5 million people in the UK, and this is predicted to rise to five million – nearly ten per cent of the population – by 2025. The cost of treatment and long term care for diabetes patients is estimated to account for one tenth of the NHS budget each year.

The guidance – Preventing type 2 diabetes – risk identification and interventions for individuals at high risk – is available from NICE’s website.

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