A dental visit may be a useful time to screen people for diabetes, kidney disease and other health conditions. That’s one conclusion of a new study in the Journal of the American Dental Association.
Researchers collected urine and blood samples from 171 people ranging in age from 19 to 77. All were visiting a dental clinic for treatment. Researchers also asked questions about people’s medical conditions and their medical history.
Here’s what the researchers found:
- 83% of people had at least one abnormal test result;
- 18% had results that were significantly abnormal (higher or lower than 99% of other results);
- in women, the most common abnormal tests were high blood sugar and blood in the urine;
- in men, the most common abnormal tests were high blood sugar and high levels of white blood cells; and,
- 36% of people with heart disease and 13% of those with diabetes had test results that could point to kidney disease.
People with medical conditions were more likely to have at least one abnormal test result than people who did not report any conditions. Only 17% of people reported no medical conditions. Some 20% reported one condition, and 63% said they had two or more.
The researchers suggest that the dental office may be a useful place to conduct medical screenings. Few studies have looked at the possibility of medical screening in dental offices. Earlier in 2014, a study found that 41% of dental patients had evidence of diabetes or pre-diabetes.