Objective: To investigate oral health awareness, oral hygiene and attitudes towards general dental practitioners' (GDP) involvement in diabetes screening in adults with diabetes.
Design: Self-completion questionnaire.
Setting: General medical practices in Warwickshire.
Subjects and methods: Adults with diabetes attending clinics run by practice or diabetes nurses in general medical practices.
Results: Two hundred and twenty-nine of 615 (37.2%) questionnaires were completed in 14 general medical practices. The majority of respondents (79.8%, 178/223) visited a dentist once or twice a year, but oral care varied; 67.2% (133/198) reported brushing at least twice a day, whereas only 15.3% (29/190) flossed daily. Awareness of oral health risks was limited: 69.1% (150/217) had never received any oral health advice related to their diabetes. Over half of respondents supported the idea of dentists offering screening for diabetes (121/226, 53.5%).
Conclusions: Many adults with diabetes have poor awareness of oral care and health complications associated with diabetes, and are receiving limited advice from healthcare professionals. Training and advice for both healthcare professionals and patients concerning the importance of good oral health in patients with diabetes is needed. The role of dentists in diabetes screening and support requires further investigation.