Diabetes and Gum Disease – Screening in the Dental Office

It seems as though we are learning more about the relationship between periodontal disease and Diabetes every day. Information about the link between the two continues to grow as new scientific literature is published.

A recent study led by Dr. Sheila 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.

Using guidelines established by the American Diabetes Association, Dr. Strauss determined that 93 percent of subjects who had periodontal disease, compared to 63 percent of those without the disease, were considered to be at high risk for diabetes and should be screened for diabetes. Screening could be performed by dentists using a simple glucometer with blood taken from inflamed periodontal pockets.

Dr. Strauss stated, “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.”

“It’s been estimated that 5.7 million Americans with diabetes were undiagnosed in 2007,” Dr. Strauss added, “with the number expected to increase dramatically in coming years. The issue of undiagnosed diabetes is especially critical because early treatment and secondary prevention efforts may help to prevent or delay the long-term complications of diabetes that are responsible for reduced quality of life and increased levels of mortality among these patients. Thus, there is a critical need to increase opportunities for diabetes screening and early diabetes detection.”

Given the findings of this study, do you think you would incorporate routine Diabetes screening into your daily practice?

Source: The Journal of Public Health Dentistry
photo: Babble