Developing a diabetes oral health program for Diabetes Educators


  • Ajesh George
  • Amit Arora
  • Andre Priede
  • Damien McCaul
  • Ariana Kong
  • Bronwyn Johnson
  • Lisa Fitzgerald
  • Parul Marwaha
  • Phyllis Lau
  • Prakash Poudel
  • Rhonda Griffiths
  • Siobhan Kelton
  • Susanne Sofronoff
  • Lorena Akerman
  • Rachel Freeman


  • Angela Masoe
  • Cathryn Forsyth
  • Evelyn Boyce
  • Graeme Liston
  • Hanny Calache
  • Jacqueline Rojo
  • Janine Dawson
  • Rachel Martin
  • Shelley Du
  • Sheree Vickery
  • Vincent Wong
  • Ivan Darby
  • ADEA Consumer Panel
  • ADEA Clinical Practice Committee


ADA NSW: Australian Dental Association NSW
ADEA: Australian Diabetes Educators Association
AH&MRC: Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council
COHS: Centre for Oral Health Strategy NSW
CPH: Centre for Population Health (Ministry of Health)
Deakin: Deakin University (SoHSD – School of Health & Social Development)
DHSV: Dental Health Services Victoria


HNELHD: Hunter New England Local Health District
Monash: Monash Health
NRCH: North Richmond Community Health (VIC)
NSLHD: Northern Sydney Local Health District
UniMelb: University of Melbourne (MDS – Melbourne Dental School)
WSPHN: Western Sydney Primary Health Network
WSU: Western Sydney University (SoNM – School of Nursing & Midwifery; SoSH – School of Science & Health; SoM – School of Medicine)

Project Overview

Diabetes and gum disease have a bidirectional relationship; diabetes increases the risk of gum disease, negatively affecting blood glucose management, and increases the risk of diabetes complications. Severe gum disease can also have a profound impact on many aspects of daily living and quality of life. In addition to gum disease, other complications of diabetes include dry mouth, tooth decay, tooth loss, oral thrush and taste impairment. Evidence shows that treatment of gum disease can significantly improve glycaemic control among people with diabetes.

International and national guidelines acknowledge the importance of oral health care in diabetes and recommend that diabetes care providers undertake an oral health review of people with diabetes. However, research has revealed limited emphasis being placed on oral health by diabetes care providers in Australia (GPs and Diabetes Educators) with the main barriers being limited knowledge and training in this area. Further, people with diabetes have limited oral health knowledge and receive little oral health information from diabetes care providers. The findings highlight the need to improve the oral health competency/confidence of diabetes care providers to promote oral health.

As part of the DIOH program development the study team have piloted a simple 3 item screening that is sensitive (93%) to identify people with diabetes at risk of poor oral health. In addition, an evidence-based oral health promotional resource for patients with diabetes has been developed and endorsed by NSW Health, Australian Dental Association (NSW), consumer groups and Diabetes Australia (NSW and ACT) and made publicly available via Centre for Oral Health Strategy NSW.

Aims & Objectives

The aim is to develop and pilot test an evidence-based oral health training program for Diabetes Educators across both New South Wales and Victoria. The project objectives include:

  1. Establish a working group consisting of academics, clinicians, and policy makers as well as representatives from professional organisations
  2. Develop an oral health promotional video for patients with diabetes
  3. Develop an evidenced based e-learning workbook for Diabetes Educators (including video)
  4. Pilot test the e-learning workbook and assess its acceptability and impact on the knowledge and confidence of Diabetes Educators to provide oral health education, screening and dental referrals
  5. Seek endorsement of the training program from professional organisations as a continuing professional development activity

Overview of the DIOH Training Program

Research Output

To see the various outputs from the program, please navigate to the pages below:

Publications Presentations Awards Training resources Oral health promotion resources

Alignment with ACIOH’s themes

Workforce reoriented:


This project aimed to train diabetes educators to provide oral health screening and referrals

People-centred strategies:


This project aimed to improve the oral health of people with diabetes