Diabetes can increase chances of developing oral cancer

diabetesWomen who suffer with diabetes face a much greater chance of developing oral cancer, new research shows.

The research found women who are diabetic have a 13% higher chance of developing oral cancer.

Being diabetic can also increase the chances of developing any form of cancer by 27% for women, compared with 19% for men.

‘Diabetes has previously been linked to poor oral health, but this new research shows a specific link to mouth cancer,’ Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said.

‘This makes regular dental visits an absolute must.

‘It is important, not just for diabetics but for everyone to be aware of what the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer are.

‘Be alert to ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red and white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings in the head and neck area.’

Gum disease and type 2 diabetes link

Recent studies found a strong correlation between patients with severe gum disease and those with type 2 diabetes.

This has lead to the British Medical Journal (BMJ) saying screening dental patients for diabetes would be ‘worthwhile’.

‘While there may be a role for dentists in the future to screen patients with severe gum disease for type 2 diabetes, there are currently no established protocols to do this and it would require funding in place for training and delivering the service,’ the BDA’s scientific adviser, Professor Damien Walmsley, said.

‘Regardless of an individual’s risk for diabetes, preventing gum disease is important for all patients and dentists are the experts in oral health.

‘They advise that the best way to do this is to limit sugar intake, brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and visit the dentist regularly to detect problems early as many dental problems don’t become visible or cause pain until they are in the more advance stages.’

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