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J Periodontal Res. 2007 Dec;42(6):559-65.

Diabetes in the dental office: using NHANES III to estimate the probability of undiagnosed disease.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA. lnb2@columbia.edu

Abstract

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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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