Purpose: To assess: 1) awareness of diabetic patients about their increased risk for oral diseases, 2) attitudes of diabetic patients towards maintaining good oral health through oral self-care and regular dental visits and 3) their sources of information on oral health.
Materials and Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess the main objectives of the study. Two hundred diabetic patients ranging in age from 17 to 78 years old participated in the study.
Results: A majority of the participants had type 2 diabetes. The awareness of diabetic patients of their increased risk for oral diseases is low compared to their awareness of systemic diseases. Their attitude towards maintaining good oral health is poor. Of the participants, only 17% brush their teeth twice daily, 61% never use dental floss, and 67% had not visited a dental clinic within the last year. Regarding participants sources of awareness, 53% learned from a dentist and 30% through other media sources. A significant association (P < 0.05) was found between glycaemic control and oral infections and between duration of diabetes and denture problems.
Conclusions: Diabetic patients were found to have little awareness 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 develop programs to educate the public about the oral manifestations of diabetes and its complications for oral health.
Keywords: awareness, diabetes, oral health, oral self-care, periodontal disease