A controlled cross-sectional study with the aim of studying oral health in patients with type 2 diabetes was carried out in a health care district in Sweden. The study included 102 randomly sampled diabetic patients and 102 age- and gender-matched non-diabetic subjects from the same geographical area, treated at the same Public Dental Service clinics. Oral conditions were measured at clinical and X-ray examinations. Diabetes-related variables were extracted from medical records. Diabetic patients suffered from xerostomia (dry mouth) to a significantly higher degree than non-diabetic controls did (53.5 vs. 28.4%; P=0.0003). Sites with advanced periodontitis were more frequent in the diabetic group (P=0.006) as were initial caries lesions (P=0.02). Diabetic subjects showed a greater need of periodontal treatment (P=0.05), caries prevention (P=0.002) and prosthetic corrections (P=0.004). Diabetes duration or metabolic control of the disease was not related to periodontal status. However, patients with longer duration of diabetes had more manifest caries lesions (P=0.05) as had those on insulin treatment when compared with patients on oral/diet or combined treatment (P=0.0001). The conclusion is that individuals with type 2 diabetes in some oral conditions exhibited poorer health. Close collaboration between the patient, the primary health care and oral health professionals could be a way of improving the diabetic patient's general and oral health.