Oxford University Press (OUP), Family Practice, 1(30), p. 113-118
People with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of oral health problems; however, oral health is currently not included in structured diabetes reviews and education in the UK. This study explores the patient's experience related to oral health and diabetes, especially in relation to: center dot Awareness of the link between oral health and diabetes and oral self-care needs. center dot Interaction with health professionals in dental and general practice. center dot Preferences for receiving oral health information and education. This nested qualitative study involved semi-structured telephone interviews with a purposive sample of 20 participants from a questionnaire study on oral health awareness in patients with diabetes. Interview transcripts were analysed using a thematic framework approach. Participants were mostly unaware of the link between oral health and diabetes. Those that had been made aware by a health professional were not given concrete self-care advice. Interactions with dental professionals were often limited to informing the dental practice of their diagnosis and current medication. Most participants were in favour of dentists screening for diabetes, but as their general practice was the hub for diabetes care, they felt GPs or nurses should provide oral health information and discuss oral health with patients. Written information regarding diabetes and its possible effects on oral health needs to be more readily available to people with diabetes, especially at diagnosis. There may be a place for introducing a structured oral health question in routine diabetes reviews.