A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health confirms that using gingival crevicular blood (GCB; blood from the gums) for haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) testing produced values that were nearly identical to those obtained using finger stick blood (FSB), with a correlation of 0.991 between the two blood samples of 408 dental patients. Testing HbA1c is promoted by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to diagnose diabetes and monitor glycaemic control.
Researchers said that in light of these findings, the dental visit could be a useful opportunity to conduct diabetes screening among at-risk, undiagnosed patients – an important first step in identifying those who need further testing to determine their diabetes status.
The study builds upon an earlier pilot study in which the feasibility and acceptability to patients and dental providers of using oral blood to screen for diabetes during a routine dental exam was demonstrated.
While anyone at risk for diabetes can potentially benefit from additional opportunities for screening, researchers found that participants who were at least 45 years old might especially reap great benefit from diabetes screening at dental visits. The researchers also noted that HbA1c testing at dental visits could serve as an additional opportunity to determine the extent of glycaemic control among those already diagnosed with diabetes.