Individuals with diabetes are at greater risk of developing oral health issues, like gum disease, yet care for these linked health issues are usually disconnected, split between primary care and dental care. A research team from the University of Amsterdam developed an intervention that provided primary care-based oral health information and dental referrals for patients with diabetes. In a cluster randomized controlled trial, 764 patients from 24 primary care practices received either the oral health support or standard primary care. Participants were asked to rate their oral health quality of life, as well as their general health and any oral health complaints, at the start and end of the study. Analysis showed that individuals who received the primary care-based oral health support intervention had a significant increase in their self-reported oral health quality of life when compared with the control group. The authors conclude that, "patients with type 2 diabetes who attend primary diabetes care can benefit from extra attention to oral health." They add, "It also further reflects the concept of oral health and general health being connected."
Implementation of an Oral Care Protocol for Primary Diabetes Care: A Pilot Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial
Martijn J.L. Verhulst, Ph.D., MSc, et al
Vrije Universiteit, Department of Periodontology, Academic Centre for Dentistry, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The Annals of Family Medicine