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Curb diabetes from the dentist’s office

Some people let time pass without going to the dentist, not knowing that a checkup can go beyond dental health. It opens the door to the early diagnosis of diabetes or hidden arterial hypertension. We explain it on World Diabetes Day.

There is more and more evidence about the relationship between oral and general health. That’s why, on World Diabetes Day, November 14, we talk about the need for early diagnosis from the dentist’s office.

Covering the patient’s health in a multidisciplinary way is, broadly speaking, what promotes “promosalut“, an initiative that proposes the incorporation of an action protocol in the dentist’s consultation, through which risk factors for diseases such as diabetes or hypertension can be detected.

This protocol, a pioneer at an international level, has been promoted by the SEPA Foundation and the Spanish Society of Periodontics and has the endorsement of important Spanish scientific and medical societies, such as Spanish Society of Cardiology (SEC) or the Spanish Society of Diabetes (THIS).

The goal of Promosalut is none other than that prevention.

“Through a very simple, minimally invasive protocol that requires little time from professionals and is really cheap to implement, we aim to contribute to the prevention of these systemic diseases and their important complications”, assures the doctor Miguel Carasol, coordinator of the initiative.

Early detection of diabetes by the dentist

Currently, more than 40% of people with hypertension are unaware that they have it and in Spain it is estimated that around 15 million adults suffer from high blood pressure.

In addition, there are more than five million diabetics in our country, of which 45% do not know they are diabetic. In other words, more than 2,300,000 people do not know they have diabetes. This is indicated by the prevalence data of the di@bet.es study.

The “Promosalut” protocol

Based on these figures, Promosalud becomes a perfect opportunity to change the tides. The steps to follow as stipulated in the protocol are the following:

  • Registration of the arterial pressure.
  • Taken from radial pulse to suspect the existence of a possible cardiac arrhythmia.
  • Complete the quiz FINDRISK (8 simple questions to assess the risk of diabetes in the next 10 years). If this test equals or exceeds 12 points, glycated hemoglobin is recorded using a simple capillary puncture.

A report is filled out with the data obtained and returned to the dentist, who records the data in the clinical history.

“In less than ten minutes and at a minimal cost, you can contribute to the early detection of diabetes or hypertension,” says Dr. Carasol.

The procedure is made available free of charge to the more than 23,000 Spanish dental clinics in order to enhance the role of the dental clinic as a promoter of general and oral health.

Along with the protocol document, an infographic is provided, specifying the target audience of the initiative, when it must be implemented, in what order the advised tasks must be done, how the information must be recorded and what is done with the data obtained.

Image provided by the SEPA Foundation

Campaign objectives

In short, the objectives of the initiative will be

  • Prevent, diagnose and treat patients’ periodontal diseases.
  • Raise awareness to society of the importance of periodontitis as a risk indicator of diabetes mellitus or cardiovascular diseases.
  • Detect the risk of suffering from prediabetes, diabetes mellitus or hypertension from the dentist.

Ambitious, but feasible

Although they are very ambitious goals, the president of SEPA, Dr. José Narthe is optimistic: there are many factors that play in his favor.

And the fact is that the dental office is a healthcare space that is visited by 55% of the population, at least once a year, which facilitates the possibility of improving the quality of life of patients.

“This gives dental care the potential to improve the quality of life of the population by promoting oral and general health,” points out the Dr. Paula Matesanz, Vice President of SEPA.

Added to this is the fact that there is more and more evidence demonstrating the relationship between oral and general health, highlighting the close link between periodontitis (gum infection) and diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular disorders.

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