Routine dental cleanings could help in early detection of diabetes

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY: ANew York University study concludedpossibility of early detection of diabetes at the dentist's office.

Posted: March 11, 2015

Dentists now have the potential ability to screen for diabetes, according to a recent study published in The American Journal of Public Health. The study, conducted by researchers at the New York University College of Dentistry, found that oral blood provides a viable means of identifying whether a patient has diabetes or is at risk for the disease.

Given the enormity of undiagnosed diabetes cases, dental clinicians can possibly join the line of defense against diabetes. The disease is the seventh largest cause of death in the U.S., according to The Centers for Disease Control, which placed the number of undiagnosed U.S. cases at 8.1 million.

According to the National Institutes of Health, undiagnosed cases of diabetes account for almost 46 percent of the global population.

The findings of the NYU study show promise in contributing toward diabetes prevention efforts, especially for those averse to having blood drawn by finger stick. Testing for diabetes with gingival crevicular blood - the scientific term for blood exuded from gums during a regular cleaning and checkup - is less intrusive than a needle.

Dr. Shiela Strauss, associate professor of nursing and co-director of the Statistics and Data Management Core for NYU's Colleges of Nursing and Dentistry, said in a statement, "Our study has considerable public health significance because we identify the value and importance of capitalizing on an opportunity at the dental visit."

She further explained that screening oral blood can also prove beneficial for patients already diagnosed with diabetes, using the test as a means of regulating patient health through the monitoring of glycemic control.

Patients prone to anxiety at the physician's office might have an easier time being screened during a routine dental procedure. In the future, if dental examinations include diabetes screenings, those who don't regularly go to the physician could stand a better chance at early detection and treatment.

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