Get Screened For Diabetes At The Dentist

For many Americans, dental visits may happen more frequently than doctor visits, which could be an opportune time to screen for diabetes, according to a new study from New York University.

Researchers found that testing gingival crevicular blood, which is obtained from the gums, provided accurate results for hemoglobin A1c levels - the standard measure of diagnosing healthy blood sugar. The results were almost identical to blood that was drawn through a finger prick.

"In light of findings from the study, the dental visit could be a useful opportunity to conduct diabetes screening among at-risk, undiagnosed patients - an important first step in identifying those who need further testing to determine their diabetes status," said principal investigator of the study Dr. Shiela Strauss.

According to a press release on the study, an estimated 8.1 million of the 29.1 million Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed.

Current diabetics can benefit from check-ins

While the patients who could benefit most from a diabetes screening at a routine dental visit would typically be undiagnosed individuals over 45, people who already have a diabetes diagnosis can benefit from a "check-in" with a doctor about the current state of their glycemic control.

Diabetics have a higher risk for gum disease, and poor blood sugar control can make oral health problems worse.

Sources: NYU and American Diabetes Association

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