With England looking set to reach five million type 2 diabetes diagnoses by 2020 (according to new stats this week), dental hygienists are urging patients to seek their services as a preventative measure to ward off any risk of the disease.
According to new analysis of the first six months of 2016, the number of prescriptions of type 2 diabetes medications was already up by more than 8% compared to the same period in 2015.
At the start of this year, 3.5 million UK adults were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Michaela O’Neill is president of the British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy that represents dental team members.
She believes these shocking figures are a reminder of the importance of good dental hygiene in relation to our overall health.
Dental hygienists, she claims, are well placed to halt this predicted hike in the figures, saying: ‘Oral health education is the cornerstone of preventative dentistry and can have a positive impact on not only the health of the British population’s teeth and gums, but on their overall health, too.
‘With a growing body of evidence illustrating links between oral health and other inflammatory diseases and beyond, now is the time for the government to take dentistry seriously.'
Regular dental examinations offer the opportunity for dentists and dental hygienists to detect early signs of systemic disease as well as dental disease.
Time spent in the dentist’s chair also gives us a chance to discuss any concerns and issues about our lifestyle habits that put our health at risk – such as the number of units of alcohol we enjoy each week, whether we are smokers and what foods we eat.
Over the past five years, the number of prescriptions of type 2 diabetes medications has risen by one third (33%) – in 2011, there were 26 million prescriptions, this rose to 35 million prescriptions in 2015.
These latest figures are believed to be the most in-depth analysis ever carried out into type 2 diabetes medications prescribing in England.