Putting a sweetener on oral health and diabetes: ISA celebrates European Oral Health day

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Brussels 12 September 2014: On the occasion of European Oral Health Day, the ISA supports this opportunity to put the spotlight on the link between oral health and diabetes. Unknown to most, oral diseases share a set of common risk factors, which can include diet, smoking and alcohol use, with many chronic non-communicable diseases and conditions such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

Current figures show that the growing diabetes epidemic in Europe is expected to affect 66.5 million people, which will equate to around 8.1% of the adult population by 2030.1 This staggering number could be reduced by introducing some simple lifestyle adjustments and consistent oral health regimes. There are plenty of things people can do to maintain healthy teeth and gums – in particular those affected with diabetes have an increased risk of gingivitis, which can result in severe tooth decay and in extreme cases tooth loss.

Introducing positive habits into the diet, such as low calorie sweeteners, can help people better maintain health and manage onset of oral disease. Because low calorie sweeteners are not broken down by bacteria, they do not contribute to tooth decay. Research shows that chewing sugar free gum can also help protect teeth in a number of ways – and even reduce the incidences of dental caries2 – plus for diabetics there is the added benefit of being able to enjoy sweet tastes without the worry of any impact on insulin levels.

By raising awareness of oral hygiene, European Oral Health Day 2014 highlights the role of healthy lifestyles in maintaining happy mouths.

  1. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 5th Edition, The International Diabetes Federation, http://www.idf.org/diabetesatlas
  2. Szóke J, Proskin HM, Banoczy J. Effect of after-meal sugarfree gum chewing on clinical caries. J Dent Res. 2001; 80(8): 1725-729