Dentists Diagnose Diabetes

Dental visits can aid in the process of diagnosing diabetes or prediabetes for people with the condition, according to researchers at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.

The reason for this possibility is that when a patient has periodontal disease, that’s one of the first complications associated with diabetes.

Dentists haven’t played a role in identifying diabetes in the past, so this may be a vital step toward curbing the problem.

To compile the data, researchers recruited about 600 people who visited a dental clinic in Manhattan. The people had to be at least 40 or the person had be 30 or older of if he she was Hispanic or nonwhite. These people also had never been told they had diabetes.

Around 530 of the people with at least one diabetes risk received a periodontal examination and a finger stick to test hemoglobin. The patients then came back for a plasma glucose test to determine if the person has diabetes or a prediabetes condition.

Based on their findings, researchers could make the correlation that for the at-risk dental population, one algorithm—based on the number of missing teeth and a plethora of deep periodontal pockets—could proficiently recognize patients with diabetes or prediabetes that hadn’t been recognized before. To double check this information, researchers used a point-of-care hemoglobin A1c test.

If dentists and periodontists pay attention to these periodontal issues, it will be pivotal in diagnosing diabetes earlier than it has been in the past.

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