HEALTHY PEARLY WHITES UP TO THE GOLDEN YEARS
‘Keep Your Teeth For Life’ campaign to boost oral health awareness in diabetics
If a smile is worth a thousand words, then a smile with a healthy set of natural teeth should be valued infinitely more. Besides the obvious cosmetic reasons, healthy, natural teeth and gums are reliable indicators of the person’s general health. As Malaysians’ age span now averages 75 years and beyond, good oral hygiene is imperative to preserve healthy, natural teeth well into the golden years especially if the individual is a diabetic.
Signs and symptoms such as gum inflammation, loose teeth, dry mouth and/or bad breath can indicate systemic diseases such as diabetes. In light of this, Vital Signs BH Sdn. Bhd., distributors of the DentYucral brand of toothpaste, has today launched the ‘Keep Your Teeth For Life’ campaign to raise public awareness on the importance of oral healthcare.
Present at the launch of ‘Keep Your Teeth For Life’ were Associate Professor Dr. Jeyakantha Ratnasingam, Consultant Endocrinologist, University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) and University Malaya Specialist Centre (UMSC); Dr. Sai Mala, Private Dental Practitioner, Sai Mala Dental Surgery; Dr. Rajes Qvist, Research Scientist on Type 2 Diabetes, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya (UM); and Annie Joseph, Managing Director, Vital Signs BH.
The campaign encompasses an educational platform to promote good oral hygiene and care, namely among Malaysians with diabetes aged 18 years-old and above.
Speaking at the event, Associate Professor Dr. Jeyakantha said, “Oral health and diabetes are not commonly thought of as being corelated. However, studies show that patients with diabetes are three times more likely to develop periodontal disease of the gums when their blood sugar levels are poorly controlled . That, combined with the patient’s inability to maintain good oral hygiene, the condition is further exacerbated, resulting in other conditions including fungal infection, gum abscess, tooth decay and tooth loss.”
Diabetes is a major public health concern in Malaysia. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) alone has escalated to 20.8% in adults above the age of 30, affecting 2.8 million individuals . Currently, 3.6 million Malaysians are suffering from diabetes, ranking the nation as the highest rate of incidence in Asia and one of the highest in the world . By 2025, an estimated 7 million Malaysian adults are likely to have diabetes – a worrying trend that will see diabetes prevalence rise to 31.3% for adults aged 18 years and above3.
Fluctuating sugar levels are a common feature in diabetic patients. “Most diabetic patients suffer because diabetes promotes gum disease through an exaggerated inflammatory response to bacteria (microflora) that is present in the mouth. Hence, there is a need to increase oral health awareness in diabetes patients and to improve utilisation of oral healthcare. Healthcare workers also need to routinely refer diabetes patients for a dental check-up ,” Dr. Rajes opined.
She continued that the treatment guideline by the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends dental care for diabetic patients at least once in every six months. More frequent dental visits are recommended for those with periodontal disease4.
In the same vein, Dr. Sai Mala said, “When we age, our teeth get dimensionally smaller due to wear and tear, causing food to get trapped easily in between teeth. This causes the gums to bleed, even in healthy patients. Proper flossing, brushing and even using the correct toothpaste can help all individuals, including diabetic patients to avoid severe gum disease and perhaps retain their natural teeth well into their 90s. With proper oral hygiene habits and regular visits to the dentist, there is no need to lose natural teeth as you get older irrespective if you’re diabetic or not.”
In tandem with the ‘Keep Your Teeth For Life’ campaign, Vital Signs BH Sdn. Bhd. is also liaising with Diabetes Malaysia on selected activities to further drive oral health awareness amongst diabetic patients. These include conducting media tutorials, comprising a Keep Your Teeth for Life article in Diabetes Malaysia newsletter distributed nationwide to diabetic patients, disseminating campaign brochures and products to diabetes patients through Diabetes Malaysia.
Sharing her motivation behind today’s campaign, Annie said, “Oral health has been a neglected aspect of routine diabetes care. Therefore, it is crucial for patients to be informed and make oral health an integral part of diabetes management. They must have regular dental check-ups and cleaning, and use the appropriate dental products and toothpaste. DentYucral is one such toothpaste that enhances daily oral care, including for people with diabetes.”
DentYucral is formulated in Europe with 18 different ingredients to help reinforce teeth, protect the gums, fight against dental plaque, tartar and tooth decay. It also helps to regenerate and hydrate the gums by improving blood circulation, as well as promote wound healing by facilitating cell renewal.