Science Friday: Dentists Could Screen Periodontal Disease Patients for Diabetes

Science Friday: Dentists Could Screen Periodontal Disease Patients for DiabetesPeriodontal disease blood samples could be used by dentists to screen dental patients for diabetes in the near future.

In the November 2011 Journal of Periodontology the NYU College of Dentistry research team reported that oral blood samples drawn from deep pockets of periodontal inflammation can be used to measure hemoglobin A1c.

Hemoglobin A1c blood glucose is used to measure diabetes status. A reading of 6.5 or higher is an indication that the patient has a value within the diabetes range.

According to Science Codex, the NYU researchers compared hemoglobin A1c levels in paired samples of oral and finger-stick blood taken from 75 patients with periodontal disease at the NYU College of Dentistry. A reading of 6.3 or greater in the oral sample corresponded to a finger stick reading of 6.5 in identifying the diabetes range, with minimal false positive and false negative results.

The study’s principal investigator, Dr. Shiela Strauss, associate professor of nursing and co-director of the Statistics and Data Management Core for NYU’s Colleges of Nursing and Dentistry, noted that some dental patients may find the oral blood sampling in a dentist’s office to be less invasive than finger stick sampling.

The one-year study utilized a version of a hemoglobin A1c testing kit that was initially developed specifically to enable dentists and dental hygienists to collect finger-stick blood samples and send them to a laboratory for analysis. The testing kit was adapted to enable analysis of both oral blood and finger-stick samples. Dr. Strauss points out that the hemoglobin A1c testing method requires only a single drop of blood to be collected, applied to a special blood collection card, and mailed to the laboratory when dry.

Additional research on oral blood hemoglobin A1c testing is planned for a wider collection of periodontal disease subjects.

For more on this story see: NYU Study: Blood From Periodontal Disease Can Be Used to Screen for Diabetes

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