Background and objective: Recent data have suggested that in the past 15 years there has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of diabetes mellitus in the USA. However, evidence suggests that approximately one-third of diabetes cases remain undiagnosed. Because 60% of Americans see a dentist at least once per year for routine, nonemergent, care, it is reasonable to propose that the dental office can be a healthcare location actively involved in screening for unidentified diabetes.
Material and methods: This study used NHANES III to develop a predictive equation that can form the basis of a tool to help dentists determine the probability of undiagnosed diabetes by using self-reported data and periodontal clinical parameters routinely assessed in the dental office.
Results: Our analyses reveal that individuals with a self-reported family history of diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels and clinical evidence of periodontal disease bear a probability of 27-53% of having undiagnosed diabetes, with Mexican-American men exhibiting the highest probability and white women the lowest.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that the dental office could provide an important opportunity to identify individuals unaware of their diabetic status.