When we think of going to the dentist, we normally don’t think of anything else but our oral health. But what if more dentists started screening for overall health issues in addition to normal cleanings and procedures?
Every year, Americans “visit a dental provider but not a primary care provider.” This is dangerous because many serious diseases can be prevented when early signs are detected—including diabetes. Currently, there are an estimated 8.1 million undiagnosed Americans suffering from diabetes out of the 29.1 million actually living with the disease. What if we made getting tested for diabetes easier?
This opportunity to get tested at each individual’s dentist’s office would make sure people can get a more holistic health check-up with just one visit. According to a new study in the American Journal for Public Health, “using gingival crevicular blood for hemoglobin A1c testing produced values that were identical to those obtained from using finger stick blood.” In short, this means that gingival blood is just as reliable as a finger stick method for detecting diabetes.
Based on this finding, a simple dental visit could be a game-changer in the field of diabetes prevention and treatment. The final conclusion, according to Dr. Strauss of New York University, is that if we stress the importance of diabetes screening at the dentist, we will be catching those who are undiagnosed and helping those already diagnosed to maintain their health to the greatest extent possible.