Dentists should screen for diabetes, says doctor
 

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Dentists should screen for diabetes, says doctor

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Dentists should screen for diabetes, says doctor

 

Dentists should screen for diabetes, says doctor

A doctor, whose study reveals more than 90% of people with gum disease are at risk from diabetes, is calling on dentists to screen for the condition.

The study, conducted by a joint nursing/dental team in the US, discovered that an overwhelming majority of people who have periodontal disease are also at high risk of having the health condition and should be screened for it.

The researchers, based at New York University, also determined that half of those at risk had seen a dentist in the previous year.

They suggest that dentists should consider offering diabetes screenings in their surgeries, and described practical approaches to conducting these.

The study, led by Dr Shiela Strauss, associate professor of nursing and co-director of the Statistics and Data Management Core for NYU's Colleges of Dentistry and Nursing, examined data from 2,923 adult participants in the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey who had not been diagnosed with diabetes.

Dr Strauss determined that 93% of subjects who had periodontal disease, compared to 63% of those without the disease, were considered to be at high risk for diabetes and should be screened for diabetes.

In Dr Strauss's study, two of those additional risk factors – high blood pressure and a first-degree relative (a parent or sibling) with diabetes – were reported in a significantly greater number of subjects with periodontal disease than in subjects without the disease.

Her findings, published in the online edition of the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, add to a growing body of evidence linking periodontal infections to an increased risk for diabetes.

Dr Strauss also examined how often those with gum disease and a risk for diabetes visit a dentist, finding that three in five reported a dental visit in the past two years; half in the past year; and a third in the past six months.

She said: ‘In light of these findings, the dental visit could be a useful opportunity to conduct an initial diabetes screening – an important first step in identifying those patients who need follow-up testing to diagnose the disease.'

Dentists could use a glucometer — a diagnostic instrument for measuring blood glucose — to analyse finger-stick blood samples, or use the glucometer to evaluate blood samples taken from pockets of inflammation in the gums.

Dr Strauss concluded: ‘The oral blood sample would arguably be more acceptable to dentists because providers and patients anticipate oral intervention.'

To read the study, click here.

 Posted on : Thu 17th - Dec - 2009

 

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