- The campaign ‘Living Healthier with Diabetes’ kicks off in Dubai in November to raise awareness about the existing two-way relationship between oral health and diabetes.
- Periodontitis is the 6th major complication of diabetes, which in turn can deteriorate blood glucose levels and thereby increase the risk for severe complications.
- Over 1 million people are living with diabetes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and periodontal disease is responsible for a large proportion of oral healthcare costs.
On November 5th, Sunstar & Sara Trident Emirates along with the Dubai Health Authority, launched the campaign ‘Living Healthier with Diabetes’ in Dubai, coinciding with the World Diabetes Month. This initiative aims to raise awareness about the bidirectional link existing between periodontal disease and diabetes. Diabetes is a risk factor for the development, progression and severity of periodontal disease. In turn, periodontitis can cause deterioration of blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes. Some studies even suggest that periodontitis increases the risk of developing diabetes. The campaign will target a total of 10,000 diabetic patients, oral care professionals, and other healthcare professionals with specific expertise in diabetic care, by carrying out a series of educational activities until March 2020.
As in the rest of the world, diabetes is a growing disease in the UAE, with over a million people suffering from it. Reducing the national disease prevalence from 19.3% in 2015 to 16.28% in 2021 is part of the health goals of the national agenda 2021, as recently announced the Health Ministry of the UAE. Therefore, the ‘Living Healthier with Diabetes’ campaign aims to draw attention to the vital role oral health plays in diabetes prevention and treatment. In particular, it aims to raise awareness about the fact that periodontal disease is considered the 6th major complication of diabetes.
The ‘Living Healthier with Diabetes’ campaign in detail
The campaign starts this week in Dubai with several events. During the first week of November, SUNSTAR and Sara Trident Emirates are presenting the campaign and introducing the implications Periodontal disease has on diabetes to over 100 attendees including healthcare providers, Heads of Dental Clinics, and Representatives of Dental Universities, among others. Also, on Wednesday 6th , the ‘Living Healthier with Diabetes’ campaign will visit the Ajman University and the Sharjah University to present the initiative to dental students and encourage them to learn more about the connection between periodontitis and diabetes. Finally, on Thursday 7th, there is also a CME event planned to promote the campaign among dental professionals at the Dusit Thani Hotel.
In the upcoming months, educational posters and leaflets will be distributed to Clinics and Hospitals, over 5,000 oral care kits with Sunstar GUM® products for diabetes prevention and 2,000 kits for diabetes treatment will be given to healthcare providers, and close to 3,000 pharmacies across UAE will receive specific training. Universities and Dental Colleges will also receive educational kits and materials as well as training in the bidirectional relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes.
“We are proud to lead an initiative like this for the first time in the United Arab Emirates. Early diagnosis of both diabetes and periodontal disease is essential if we want to improve prevention and treatment. It is therefore vital to raise awareness about this existing relationship and provide useful tools to patients, professionals and people at risk.” explains Dr. Marzia Massignani, Sr Manager of Scientific Affairs and Corporate Communications at Sunstar.
Over 30 years supporting research into the relationship between oral health and diabetes
In addition to the local campaign in the UAE, Sunstar also developed the ‘Perio & Diabetes Campaign’ together with the European Federation of Periodontology and in collaboration with the International Diabetes Federation at a global level.
The company has been promoting and supporting research for over 30 years now due to the personal story that links diabetes to the Kaneda family (the founders of the company). SUNSTAR’s founder, Kunio Kaneda, passed away due to a complication of diabetes in his fifties. In 1986, the company held the SUNSTAR Portside Symposium, where Hiroo Kaneda, Kunio’s son, raised the question of a possible link between periodontal disease and systemic diseases. He suffers from both diseases and felt they were somehow connected. This was the first step towards the recognition of the relationship between oral health and general health.
Ever since, the company, through the Sunstar Foundation, has been contributing to research and raising awareness about the two-way relationship between oral health and general health, particularly about periodontal disease and diabetes.