Diabetics respond more effectively to motivational health coaching rather than relying only on information being handed to them.
The recent study, by the University of Copenhagen and published in Clinical Oral Investigations, shows that diabetics could be more susceptible to oral health issues such as caries.
The results may influence the way diabetics are provided with oral healthcare information in the future.
Assistant professor and authorised coach Ayse Basak Cinar from the Department of Odontology at the University of Copenhagen explains: ‘In the group of patients who were given personal health coaching, biological markers for periodontitis, also known as “loose teeth disease”, were reduced by as much as 50% over a six month period.
‘The patients in the trial group saw a significant decline in long-range blood sugar levels, whereas figures for the control group [those provided only with literature] were unchanged.
‘Moreover, the patients in the coaching group expressed markedly increased self-efficacy in relation to handling illness and health issues.’
Lone Scou from the Department of Odontology at the University of Copenhagen added ‘Health coaching is a resource-intensive intervention, however, dishing out a brochure to patients with diabetes and thinking that that will do it is also a costly approach for society.
‘The patients we are in contact with are often both socially and financially vulnerable, for them health coaching and follow-up can make a considerable and marked difference, both to their physical and mental health.’
Just over 180 patients took part in the study, all with type II diabetes.