A study from the United States has shown that oral blood samples taken from patients with periodontal disease could be useful for checking haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a common measure for diabetes.
Scientists at New York University funded by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute found that blood taken from pockets of periodontal inflammation can be used to measure HbA1c levels more effectively than blood from taken by the finger-stick method.
The study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, involved comparing haemoglobin A1c levels in samples of both oral and finger-stick blood from 75 patients suffering from periodontal disease. It was revealed that a reading of 6.3 or more in the oral sample was associated with a finger-stick reading of 6.5 in the diabetes range. The American Diabetes Association advises that an HbA1c reading of over 6.5 is in the diabetes range.
Lead author Shiela Strauss commented “In light of these findings, the dental visit could be a useful opportunity to conduct an initial diabetes screening – an important first step in identifying those patients who need further testing to determine their diabetes status.”
She added “The issue of undiagnosed diabetes is especially critical because early treatment and secondary prevention efforts may help to prevent or delay the long-term complications of diabetes that are responsible for reduced quality of life and increased levels of mortality risk.”
It was also thought that patients might prefer the oral blood sampling at their dentist’s office than the more invasive finger-stick method.

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