Individuals with diabetes are at greater risk of developing oral health problems such as gum disease, yet care for these issues are usually split between primary care and dental care. Yet researchers at the University of Amsterdam have developed an intervention that provides primary care-based oral health information and dental referrals for patients with diabetes.
In a cluster randomized controlled trial, 764 patients from 24 primary care practices received either the oral health support or standard primary care. Participants were asked to rate their oral health quality of life as well as their general health and any oral health complaints at the start and end of the study.
Analysis showed that individuals who received the primary care-based oral health support intervention had a significant increase in their self-reported oral health quality of life when compared with the control group.
The researchers concluded that patients who have type 2 diabetes and who attend primary diabetes care can benefit from additional attention to their oral health. Also, they said, their findings further reflect the connections between oral health and systemic health.