Diabetics: Grab your brushes! Oral health linked to heart disease and cancer

A study published in the British Dental Journal has found that most diabetics are unaware of the relationship between their oral health and risk of developing heart disease and cancer.

Inflammation from swollen gums in diabetes can increase the severity of the condition leading to deaths from oral cancer and has also been shown to worsen the impact of cardiovascular disease. Diabetes also has an effect on the rate of development of gum disease which, if left untreated, can lead to loss of teeth.

The survey found that only 13% of diabetic adults surveyed were aware that gum problems could be affected by diabetes and only 12% thought there was a connection between diabetes and loose teeth. The message from dentists is clear: by taking care of teeth and gums through twice daily brushing, flossing, and regular trips to the dentist, it will reduce the risk of developing complications related to diabetes.

Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
Disease of the heart and blood vessels, usually due to atherosclerosis. Full medical glossary
A condition that is linked to, or is a consequence of, another disease or procedure. Full medical glossary
A disorder caused by insufficient or absent production of the hormone insulin by the pancreas, or because the tissues are resistant to the effects. Full medical glossary
Relating to blood vessels. Full medical glossary