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Evaluation of knowledge and practice regarding oral health care among diabetic patients in PHCs in Al-Ahsa during 2006 AD


Periodontal disease is one of the common complications of diabetes mellitus. Adults with diabetes have both a higher prevalence of periodontal disease and more severe forms of the disease. This study was conducted to study knowledge and practices of diabetic patients regarding oral health and their perception about the management by dentists.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among diabetic patients attending general clinics of nine randomly selected Primary Health Care Centers Al-Ahsa area of Eastern region. A pair of a male and female health was trained at each health center to interview patients using a structured questionnaire, and extracting relevant data from records. Data collection team interviewed every diabetic patient visiting the health center during the study period and reviewed follow up records to establish control of diabetes.


Among the 530 diabetic patients who participated in the study, mean age was 53.6 year (SD 13 years), 50.4% were female, 57.9% were non-educated and mean duration of diabetes was 9.6 years (SD 7 years). 73.8% brushed their teeth and 25.1% used miswak. Only 18.9% pointed out oral and gum problems as complications of diabetes. 20.6% had routine checkup for oral health problems and overall 30.7% were referred to dentists. 250 (47.5%) diabetic patients had some oral problem including spontaneous toothache (35.1%), bleeding gums (10.8%) and bad breath (10.2%). 65.3% claimed to have received health education about oral health; sources include television (28.9%), dentists (24.2%) and doctors (20.8%). Oral health problems were found to be more common among females (P<0.001), uneducated patients (P=0.012), unemployed (P<0.001), patients with longer duration of diabetes (P=0.10), with other coexisting chronic diseases (p=0.004), patients who brush more often (p=0.04), patients who use miswak (P=0.39), and those found to have more oral health related knowledge (P=0.51).


A large proportion of diabetic patients had oral health problems, while a majority had reasonably satisfactory oral hygienic practices. Referral of diabetic patients for routine check-up was not satisfactory; and when patients are referred for dental care, at times their diabetic status was not fully taken into consideration.