PRIORITISING oral health of those with diabetes would not only save millions of pounds but also provide those patients with a better quality of life, says the Oral Health Foundation.
The oral health charity cites research showing a statistically significant association between maintaining gum health and reduced healthcare costs among people newly diagnosed with diabetes.
Analysis also of data from more than 15,000 adults ages 18-64 newly diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes found that those who had gum disease treated at an early stage had an average saving of almost £1,500 in healthcare costs over a two-year period.
Speaking about the findings, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation said: "The link between oral health and serious systemic diseases has become increasingly obvious over recent years and one of the clearest relationships which we have seen is with diabetes.
"Over the next decade Type-2 diabetes is estimated to increase significantly to five million sufferers, placing an increased pressure upon NHS resources and finances at a time when it is really struggling in both of these areas.
"By providing effective treatment for gum disease at an early stage we believe there are potentially considerable cost savings to be had for the health services.
"Giving patients the information and treatment they need to look after their gums it can help to preserve the oral health of million in the UK while also saving NHS coffers."
President of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, Michaela O'Neill, said that diabetic patients should be especially aware of the signs of gum disease as it can lead to very serious complications.
Ms O'Neill said: "Gum disease can potentially lead to tooth loss and people with diabetes are more at risk of aggravating gum disease.
"It then becomes a vicious circle, as gum disease can increase blood sugar which can lead to an increased risk of diabetic complications.”