Did you know, dentists can identify if you are suffering from diabetes

According to a new study, dentists who particularly focus on patients with severe periodontitis, have noticed a considerable number of suspected new diabetes cases from such patients

According to a recent study done by researchers from University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands, which was published in latest British Medical Journal Open Diabetes Research and Care issue, your dentist could help you identify if you are suffering from diabetes.

A dentist’s office is a suitable location for screening pre-diabetes and this study concludes that with early diagnosis and treatment, it helps to prevent severe complications of periodontitis.

Dentists who particularly focus on patients with severe periodontitis have noticed a considerable number of suspected new diabetes cases from such patients.

There were 313 individuals from a university dental clinic who participated in the study, from which 126 patients had mild / moderate periodontitis, 78 patients had severe periodontitis and 109 subjects did not have periodontitis.

Periodontics is a chronic infection that affects gums and bones that support teeth. Bacteria and the body’s own immune system break down bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. Teeth may eventually become loose, fall out, or have to be removed.

Signs of periodontics are swollen gums, bright red or purplish gums, gums that feel tender when touched, new spaces developing between your teeth, pus between your teeth and gums, bad breath and taste in mouth and loose teeth.

Comparing this study with current scenario in Mumbai, many city dentists are witnessing such cases and recommending them for further required tests to confirm if they are suffering from diabetes.

“These are regular incidents. We get 60 to 70 weekly cases on weekly basis. It is important to identify periodontics patient’s signs because a diabetic patient is more prone to gum infections. Special care need to be given to a diabetic person,” said Dr Freny Karjodkar, Professor and Head of Department at Oral Medicine Radiology at Nair Dental College

“Gum diseases are increasing nowadays and although it isn’t related to diabetes, it does play an important role. The prevalence of diabetes is increasing by the day, especially among younger people. Therefore, the role of a dentist is very important to identify symptoms in a patient such as bleeding, foul mouth odour and recommend him or her for further medical tests,” added Karjodkar.

Agreeing to this, Dr Mansing Pawar, Dean of Government Dental College, said, “A person suffering from diabetes has more chances to get gum diseases. If the gums are swallowed, bleeding gums, difficulty in sipping fluid, the patient is more prone to infection. At a number of times, it happens that a dentist can identify these symptoms of periodontics and suspects diabetes. Diabetes can be correlated with oral disease and gum disease can be used as one of the ways to screen patient for diabetes.”

Dr Amit Ramchandani, Assistant Professor at Government Dental College and Hospital, said, “Periodontics is one of the factors which informs the dentist whether the patient is diabetic or not. Because many a times the patient themselves are not aware of it. If we get such patients we recommend them for further blood test to verify diabetes, to confirm the presence of it.”

Dr Subhodh Sontake, Professor and Head of Department of Dentistry at Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, said, “Merely confirming the prevalence of diabetes on the dental table cannot be precise. The additional medical investigations need to take place to confirm diabetes.”