Background/Aim: The aim was to evaluate Diabetes Mellitus (DM) patients’ awareness of their risk for oral and dental complications, to evaluate their oral health behaviors, assess their sources of related information, and to detect the influence of their awareness on oral health and dental management.
Material and Methods: Total of 240 DM patients presenting to a university outpatient dental facility for routine care completed a self-administered questionnaire about demographic-socioeconomic characteristics, oral health care and awareness on oral complications of DM. Dental status of each patient was recorded. Data were analyzed with Chi- square test; p was set as 0.05.
Results: The patients’ mean age was 52.85 years; the majority had Type 2 DM (72.1%) and 61.7% were females. Two thirds of the patients had tooth loss; 65% brushed daily and used toothpick for interproximal cleaning (35%). Only 12.9% had regular dental visits and 37.5% reported their oral health as “poor”. DM patients rarely received guidance from their health care professionals regarding their oral health (28.3%). Even though 62.5% were aware of oral complications of DM, only 46.3% knew that oral health may affect DM. The patients with Type 1 and Type 2 DM had similar perceptions about their oral health status (p=0.15>0.05). However, insulin users were more aware of the interaction between oral health and DM (p>0.05), and were more likely to consider their oral health as “poor” (p>0.05).
Conclusions: DM patients’ awareness of the effect of DM on oral health was higher than that of the effect of oral health on DM management. Medical health care providers were failing to provide the necessary information regarding these issues when compared to dentists.