Can my dentist diagnose diabetes?

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Many oral health problems can be indicators of other health problems. Your mouth is the window into your body, so your dentist can help catch some problems early on. Your dentist may see signs in changes to your oral health that could be indicators of diabetes, such as fungal infections or signs of gum disease. If your dentist detects these as warnings to other problems, he or she will refer you to your physician for follow up.

Dentists do not officially diagnose diabetes, this should be done by a physician. However, dentists can detect signs and symptoms of diabetes in people who are undiagnosed with type 2 adult onset diabetes. Dentists know to look for things like weight loss, fatigue, chronic bad breath, thrush, dry mouth, burning mouth or tongue, and progressive gum disease can point to uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. Your dentist should refer you to a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Many of these symptoms will resolve if type 2 diabetes is indeed the cause and is treated properly to achieve good glycemic control.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.