Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is undiagnosed in approximately 1/2 of the patients actually suffering from the disease. In addition, the prevalence of DM is more than 2x as high in patients with periodontitis when compared to periodontally healthy subjects. Thus, a high number of patients with periodontitis may have undiagnosed DM.
Aim: The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate, whether blood oozing from gingival tissues during routine periodontal examination can be used for determining glucose levels. 32 non-diabetic and 13 diabetic patients with moderate to severe periodontitis were enrolled and subjected to routine clinical periodontal examination. Periodontal pocket probing was performed using a standard force. Blood oozing from gingival tissues of anterior teeth following periodontal pocket probing was collected with the stick of a glucose self-monitoring device (Elite(R) 2000, Bayer Diagnostics GmbH, Munich). As control, fingerstick capillary blood was taken. Statistical analysis was performed by Pearson's correlation coefficient.
Results: The patient blood glucose levels ranged from 3.57 mmol/l to 18.01 mmol/l and the values of blood samples taken from gingiva or finger tip showed a very high intrapatient correlation (r=0.98; p<0.0001).
Conclusion: The results suggested that blood oozing during routine periodontal examination may be used for diabetes mellitus screening in a dental office setting.