Senior author Dr. Ira Lamster, dean of Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, and colleagues recruited approximately 600 people visiting a dental clinic in New York who were age 40 or older if non-Hispanic white, and 30-years-old or older, if Hispanic or non-white, who had never been told they have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
About 530 patients with at least one additional self-reported diabetes risk factor -- family history of diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension or overweight/obesity -- received a periodontal examination and a fingerstick, point-of-care hemoglobin A1c test.
To assess and compare the performance of several potential identification protocols, the study participants returned for a fasting plasma glucose test.
The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, found for the at-risk population among the dental patients, a simple examination of two dental parameters -- number of missing teeth and percentage of deep periodontal pockets -- was effective in identifying patients with unrecognized diabetes or pre-diabetes.
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