Diabetic patients: their knowledge and perception of oral health
Objectives: The objectives of the study were to: (1) assess the knowledge and awareness of diabetic patients of their risk for systemic and oral diseases as complications associated with diabetes, (2) to assess their attitudes toward sustaining good oral health through proper oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, and (3) to the extent that they are aware, to determine how they became aware. Methods: Two hundred self-administered questionnaires were distributed to assess the main objectives of the study. Only completed questionnaires were used in the current study data analysis. Results: A majority of the participants had Type 2 diabetes (58%). The awareness of diabetic patients of their increased risk for oral diseases is low compared to their awareness of systemic diseases. Their attitude toward maintaining good oral health was also not to desired standard. Of the participants, 50% brushed their teeth once daily and 66% never used dental floss. Regarding participants’ sources of awareness, 37% learned from dentists and 45% through other media sources. Conclusions: Diabetic patients are found to have little knowledge of their increased risk for oral diseases. In order to promote proper oral health and to reduce the risk of oral diseases, health professionals in both the dental and medical fields need to take the responsibility to develop programs to educate the public about the oral manifestations of diabetes and its complications on oral health.
Keywords: diabetes; oral health; periodontal disease; oral self-care; oral diseases; diabetes complications