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Policy Brief: Diabetes Screening and Monitoring in the Dental Office

Policy Brief: Diabetes Screening and Monitoring in the Dental Office
  • By: Columbia University
  • Date: October 2015
  • Priority Area: Diabetes Prevention and Management
  • Type: Resources
  • Category: Report
  • Document: Download


This Columbia University policy brief, supported by NYSHealth, examines the role of dental health providers in diabetes screening and monitoring. The report discusses how and why the dental office represents an unrealized health care opportunity for diabetes intervention.

Diabetes management requires patient compliance and professional monitoring, which cannot always be performed solely by physicians and requires the integration of primary care in other health care settings—including dentists’ offices. 

This report is intended to make policymakers aware of the benefits of expanding diabetes prevention activities outside of primary care physicians’ offices into other health care settings. It also contains the necessary policy and regulatory changes to promote clinical adoption of those activities.

Key findings in this report:

  • Diabetes affects 9.5% of American adults, resulting in more than $100 billion in annual medical costs. More than a quarter of adults with diabetes and 9 out of 10 with prediabetes are unaware of their condition.
  • Complications of diabetes are associated with significant morbidity and increased mortality. One of the earliest clinical manifestations of diabetes is periodontal disease, which is diagnosed and treated by dentists.
  • More than 60% of Americans see a dentist each year. Further, an estimated 20 million people had an annual dental visit but did not have a medical visit.