Purpose: To assess the association of various factors including education level and oral health with type 2 diabetics' awareness of periodontitis and periodontitis/diabetes relationship, and to evaluate the importance of integrated healthcare in this association. Materials and Methods: 288 type 2 diabetics were evaluated through a validated structured questionnaire about oral hygiene habits, access and attendance to dental treatment, the presence of periodontitis and previously received information of periodontitis and periodontitis/diabetes relationship. Descriptive data were explored and both simple and multiple logistic regressions were performed. Results: The average age of participants was 62.24 (±10.93) years, 81.6% were previously treated for periodontitis and approximately 70% have never received information on periodontitis and its relationship with diabetes. A higher chance of participants having previously received information regarding periodontitis was associated with more than 8 years of schooling, daily flossing habit, presence of periodontitis and prior treatment for periodontitis (p < 0.005). Regarding previously received information about periodontitis/diabetes relationship, statistically significant associations were observed for more than 12 years of schooling and diabetes diagnosed more than 8 years ago (p < 0.05). Conclusion: The vast majority of participants were previously treated for periodontitis without receiving proper oral health education, which means that access to costly dental treatment is provided while patient education is neglected. It was shown the influence of habits and living conditions on the previously received information about diseases, and therefore, particular attention to the population characteristics is important to make the information accessible to everyone.
Keywords: diabetes mellitus; health promotion; periodontal diseases; primary healthcare; public health/community dentistry.