Diabetes and oral health

The World Dental Federation (FDI) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) jointly organised a symposium on Oral Health and Diabetes* on 25 October 2007 during the FDI Annual World Dental Congress in Dubai, UAE.  The presenting experts and all participants welcomed the initiative of the two convening organisations to emphasize the interrelationship between diabetes and oral health. They noted with great concern the rising burden of diabetes worldwide and expressed the urgent need to inform professionals, people with diabetes, policy makers and the public about the impact of diabetes on oral health and vice versa.

Participants and experts agreed that the key for health promotion and prevention of disease for people with diabetes lies in close collaboration between dentists, physicians and policy makers.  In order to maintain a healthy dentition throughout life, as well as for improved management of people with diabetes, the participants and experts gathered at the symposium urged all stakeholders to the following actions:

  • To include prevention of oral disease and promotion of oral health as an essential component of diabetes management;
  • To establish periodontal disease formally as a routine complication of diabetes in order to increase awareness amongst health professionals, people with diabetes  and policy makers;
  • To initiate and support research leading to evidence-based treatment strategies to improve health and oral health of people with diabetes;
  • To include routine oral screening of people with diabetes;
  • To introduce screening for diabetes in the dental office among high-risk populations; and 
  • To improve knowledge about the reciprocal link between diabetes and oral health among all stakeholders, health professionals, people with diabetes, the public and policy makers.
  • To increase the focus of dental education for undergraduate and post graduate students on the association between diabetes and oral health.

The participants support the work of both the FDI World Dental Federation and the International Diabetes Federation in this context and encourage both organisations to work more closely in future, to develop joint policy statements and practice guidelines, to advocate for increased awareness among all stakeholders and to implement tangible actions in this context.

*FDI and IDF are grateful to Colgate-Palmolive who made the symposium possible through an educational grant.