Investment in dental health of diabetic patients could save NHS millions

Treating diabetic patients with gum disease early could save millions in healthcare costs

Treating the dental health of those suffering with diabetes early could save money in the longer term.

New research looked into how looking after gum health could help to reduce healthcare costs amongst people newly diagnosed with diabetes.

The study looked at 15,000 newly-diagnosed patients with type-2 diabetes and it found that those who had gum disease treated at an early stage made an average saving of over £1,500 in healthcare costs over a two-year period.

‘The link between oral health and serious systemic diseases has become increasingly obvious over recent years and one of the clearest relationships we have seen is with diabetes,’ Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said.

‘Over the next decade type-2 diabetes is estimated to increase significantly to five million sufferers, placing an increased pressure upon NHS resources and finances at a time when it is really struggling in both of these areas.

‘By providing effective treatment for gum disease at an early stage we believe there are potentially considerable cost savings to be had for the health services.

‘Giving patients the information and treatment they need to look after their gums it can help to preserve the oral health of million in the UK while also saving NHS coffers.’

A ‘win-win’ for health services and patients

The BSDHT has claimed diabetic patients should be aware of the signs of gum disease to prevent serious complications.

Gum disease can affect the supporting tissues and the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw making teeth loose and potentially falling out if left untreated.

‘Gum disease can potentially lead to tooth loss and people with diabetes are more at risk of aggravating gum disease,’ president of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT), Michaela O’Neill, said.

‘It then becomes a vicious circle, as gum disease can increase blood sugar, which can lead to an increased risk of diabetic complications.

‘Early oral health intervention for diabetic patients is a win-win for health services and patients alike.’

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