The dental practice could be vital in identifying patients who are at risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to new research.
Undertaken by researchers at the University of Birmingham, the data found risk assessment tools could lead to better patient outcomes.
The tools – including patient questionnaires and point of care blood testing – could also improve early detection in undiagnosed patients.
Heading up the research was Professor Iain Chapple, head of the University of Birmingham’s school of dentistry.
He said dental force engagement may be of benefit.
‘Physicians, dental team members, patients and the public displayed positive attitudes towards risk assessing and early case detection of diabetes and pre-diabetes within the dental surgery.
‘Patients also strongly supported tests that provided immediate results.’
He added: ‘This demonstrates there may be benefit in engaging the dental workforce to identify these cases. It also shows a need for a more joined up approach to care pathways between physicians and dental practitioners.’
The asymptomatic nature of its early stages means many with the condition can remain undiagnosed for years.
However, recognised links between compromised glycaemic status and oral health means dental professionals could play an invaluable role in identification.
The research follows collaborative international guidance published last year on gum disease and diabetes.
Additionally, it recommends closer working pathways between oral health care professionals and physicians.
The full paper’s title is: ‘The Role of the Oral Healthcare Team in Identification of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review’.
It was published in the journal Current Oral Health Reports.