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In the past few months, researchers have been discovering even more reasons why it's important to visit the dentist. Aside from ensuring that a person is in good oral health, a dentist can also screen for a variety of diseases.
For example, a recent study conducted by scientists from New York University found that oral blood samples drawn from pockets of periodontal inflammation can be used to measure hemoglobin A1c, a marker for diabetes.
"In light of these findings, the dental visit could be a useful opportunity to conduct an initial diabetes screening – an important first step in identifying those patients who need further testing to determine their diabetes status," said the study’s principal investigator, Shiela Strauss, M.D.
Strauss added that there is an urgent need for more opportunities where people can get screened for diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 8 percent of the population has the disease, and 79 million people are pre-diabetic, meaning that if they continue with their current lifestyle habits then they will most likely develop the condition.
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