Open Wide! Blood from Dental Procedures Could Be Used to Predict Diabetes

A New York University research team has won a pilot grant to see if blood from dental procedures could be used in conjunction with the A1C test to detect diabetes or pre-diabetes. The A1C test, which is becoming healthcare providers’ preferred test for detecting the disease, typically uses blood extracted from finger pricks to make its analysis. The NYU team will see if the blood that flows from gum tissue during dental work can be used for the same purpose.

One motive for the study is to follow up on earlier findings that 90 percent of people who had periodontal disease either were at higher risk of developing diabetes or had already acquired undiagnosed diabetes.

The team will work with 120 patients from the periodontal treatment program at NYU’s College of Dentistry. The patients will provide finger-prick blood samples, and oral blood samples will be gathered by dental practitioners. The blood samples will be compared to see if both types offer similar readings. If so, using the A1C at dentists’ offices could become a routine way to conveniently screen people for diabetes.

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