Should dentists screen for diabetes?

By Rosemary Frei – contributing writer

July 28, 2011 — A new study suggests that dentists can accurately screen patients for diabetes and prediabetes using results from two measures they already routinely assess in the clinic (Journal of Dental Research,July 2011,Vol. 90:7, pp. 855-860).

Even so, whether most dental offices will add this to daily clinical practice remains a question mark.

The blue circle symbol used to represent diabetes.

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Columbia University investigators studied new patients who presented for dental care at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine Triage Clinic between April 2009 and March 2010. They included in their study people who had not previously been told they had prediabetes or diabetes and who were non-Hispanic white individuals older than 40 years of age or Hispanic or nonwhite individuals older than 30 years of age.

Study subjects also self-reported at least one of the following risk factors: family history of diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, overweight/obesity, and continuing to receive a periodontal examination and a point-of-care HbA1C test.

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