According to a recent study, bleeding gums might be an early symptom of diabetes type 2. Yes, as a matter of fact, serious gum diseases such as periodontitis might show that someone has this chronic illness. However, dentists could help these people with some simple tests.
It might help prevent them from losing their teeth. This is a common issue in periodontitis sufferers. Chronic disease is hard to detect, and there is one-third of people affected by it without being aware of it.
According to Dr. Wijnand Teeuw, the early intervention and diagnosis of the condition might help prevent the common macrovascular and microvascular complications.
Should Dentists Be the New Physicians?
According to one study from New York University, dental care might be a more efficient route when it comes to diagnosing the disease. This is in comparison to the regular physicians for primary care.
Why? Well, the blood of the gums might be an easy way to check for high blood glucose. This is a test which the dentists could do.
Most Americans are more likely to go to the dentist in comparison to the primary care physician. Therefore, this might be more efficient.
It makes more sense to do diabetes screenings at dentists since it might help diagnose many individuals who otherwise might go unnoticed.
Study of the American Journal of Public Health
This testing is a common tool for diagnosing chronic illness and glycemic control monitoring. The blood tests might show that a person has high blood glucose levels.
In 2013 and 2014, the researchers did hemoglobin A1c testing on blood samples that were dried from the gingival crevicular blood.
Moreover, the researchers compared them with hemoglobin A1c testing of “gold-standard” with dried finger-stick blood from patients from the NYC dental clinics. The results from the GCB testing were as accurate as those from the FSB fingerstick blood.
The onset of a few oral pathologies may be a sign of metabolic dysregulation. There are a few studies that show that there is a link between oral diseases and diabetes. A chronic oral disease that is most commonly observed is periodontitis.
More About Periodontitis
The severe form of periodontitis occurs in 10-15 % of the population, and the prevalence is twice as high in people over 50 years old.
According to studies, being diagnosed with this lifelong disease severely worsens the severity, onset, and progression of periodontitis. The prevalence of this condition in people with poor blood glucose control is higher 2-3 times, most likely because they are more prone to impaired wound healing and infections.
This is in comparison to people with normal blood sugar levels.
So, due to this, there is a suggestion for dentists to help and do tests for chronic disease.
Another Study on This Topic
The journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care published a study on this topic. This study had 313 predominantly people of middle-age who attended one university dental clinic.
Out of all participants, 78 had severe gum disease, 126 participants had mild-moderate gum disease, and 109 of them had no gum disease.
The 78 participants who had serious gum disease were overweight and had risk factors for diabetes like high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
The 126 participants with mild-moderate gum disease had more family members with the disease. This is in comparison to the participants with serious gum disease or no gum disease.
In fact, less than 3 % of those with no gum disease actually had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It was the same for 4 % of those participants with mild-moderate gum disease, and around 8 % of those participants with serious gum disease.
Results of the Blood Tests
A hemoglobin A1c value from 39 to 47 mmol or l is thought to show pre-diabetes, while on the other hand, higher values show diabetes.
According to the results of the blood tests, the hemoglobin A1c values were highest in the participants with serious gum disease.
These participants had an average value of 45 mmol or l. This is in comparison to the participants with mild-moderate gum disease who had 43 mmol or, and those with no gum disease with 39 mmol or l.
In all 3 groups, undiagnosed cases of chronic illness were discovered. Of those with mild-moderate gum disease around 10 %, around 8.5 % in participants with no gum disease, and 18 % of participants with serious gum disease.
The studies show that periodontitis is an early symptom of one of the most common chronic conditions today, and so it may be a vital risk indicator.
A dental office that treats these patients is a suitable location when it comes to screening for diabetes by validated hemoglobin A1c dry spot analysis and simple finger stick.