Discussion has arisen as to whether to have dentists screen for diabetes. A number of studies carried out across the world in dental practices have produced positive results in increased diabetes diagnosis.
Dentists can test small samples of blood which can appear on the gums during routine dental treatment. This small step could help the estimated 8 million people in the United States who are unaware fo the fact they have diabetes. “If dentists can screen for diabetes, it may help people get treated sooner when we can get better results managing their disease,” said Sheila Strauss, a lead study author of the studies carried out in recent years.
The study she worked on targeted people who were most at risk of diabetes. Most of the patients in the study were over 45 years old, with any younger patients chosen due to being overweight or displaying another risk factor associated with diabetes. Finger prick and oral blood samples were taken and tested, with the success rate of both for detection of diabetes being roughly equal.
Training and equipment for dentists, would have to be provided, but the arguments for dentists to carry out diabetes tests are becoming more convincing.
Dentists might be able to screen for diabetes [via Reuters]