Dentists may help ID prediabetes, diabetes among undiagnosed patients

NEW YORK — A visit to the dentist may offer a chance to catch prediabetes or diabetes in patients unaware that they have it, according to a new study.

Researchers at Columbia University’s College of Dental Medicine found that patients seeing a dentist could be identified as showing symptoms of the conditions, such as periodontal disease.

The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, recruited about 600 patients in northern Manhattan ages 30 years and older. Of those patients, about 530 were identified as having at least one diabetes risk factor — such as weight problems, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or a family history of the disease — and were given a periodontal examination and blood sugar test. Patients with prediabetes or diabetes were identified based on a measure that factored their number of missing teeth and deep periodontal pockets.

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