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Screening for Periodontitis Might Help Detect Diabetes

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Many patients live with prediabetes or diabetes long before receiving an official diagnosis. Because the literature indicates periodontitis may be an early complication of diabetes, Dutch researchers suggest that patients should be observed for this known risk factor using a validated glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) dry spot analysis in the dental setting.

Published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, the study, “Periodontitis As a Possible Early Sign of Diabetes Mellitus,” examined 313 subjects at a university dental clinic, including 126 patients who presented with mild to moderate periodontitis, and 78 subjects with severe periodontitis. Also included was a control group of 109 subjects without periodontitis. After HbA1c values were attained and assessed, researchers determined that patients with periodontitis — ranging from mild to severe — had higher HbA1c values than the control group. The results also helped detect suspected diabetes in 18.1% of patients with severe periodontitis, 9.9% of subjects with mild or moderate periodontitis, and in 8.5% of the control group. For the purpose of the study, researchers used the American Diabetes Association guidelines for diagnosis. This led the team to conclude that dental settings are an ideal location for diabetes screening.

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