Smiling to a diabetes diagnosis?

If you smile at your dentist, you may be able to count on an additional diagnosis in the future: Researchers at Columbia University expect dentists to diagnose diabetes more frequently in the future.

According to the U.S. researchers, however, doctors will not only be able to detect existing diabetes mellitus, but will already be able to determine the predisposition to this disease. From this point of view, dentists would then not only ensure a radiant smile, but also get to the heart of diabetes. The metabolic disease, also known as diabetes, is bitterly serious and has far-reaching health consequences. Type 2 diabetes can damage all organs and nerves. According to statistics, more than six million people in Germany are currently affected, and one in five, or 1.3 million, are not yet aware of their disease. Due to the lack of symptoms, many sufferers often only learn of their diagnosis eight to ten years after the onset of the disease. This is where dentists could do valuable preventive work.

And how does this work in practice?

In the U.S., many patients already learn during a dental appointment that they not only have gingivitis, but also have diabetes. Doctors identify the disease by the condition of the gums, among other things. The dentist is usually the first to notice changes in the mouth. The earlier this disease is detected, the better. In the early stages, people with type 2 diabetes can be treated and cured by dietary changes alone, sometimes in combination with tablets. Dentists could therefore offer their patients screening of blood glucose levels at the same time as part of their routine annual checkup. Particularly in the case of risk factors such as obesity, this diagnostic approach is a real ray of hope for early detection.

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