2. Department of Health and Environmental Sciences, Karlstad University, Sweden.
3. Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden.
4. Department of Dental Medicine/Division of Periodontology, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden.
Background: The purpose of our study was to identify patients in a dental setting at risk of already having or developing high blood pressure or high plasma glucose, investigate possible associations between these conditions and periodontal status and explore the correlation between screening results and follow-up assessments concerning the need for medical treatment and/or lifestyle changes performed by medical staff.
Methods: A total of 170 dental patients were consecutively included at their regular yearly check-up visit. Data on age, weight, height, amount and use of tobacco and medication for cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus were collected, as well as data about systolic and diastolic blood pressure, in addition to pulse and plasma glucose. Clinical and radiographic examinations revealed data about periodontal status by probing periodontal pockets and measuring marginal alveolar bone loss by means of x-rays. Patients who exceeded normal diastolic blood pressure and plasma glucose values were referred for diagnosis and care.
Results: Thirty-nine patients exhibiting high values were provided referrals and 24 or 14.1% of the 170 participants required additional care. The correlation between oral and medical health care concerning blood pressure recorded was 64.5% (p<0.001), while the correlation was 40.0% (p<0.001) concerning plasma glucose. Among middle aged men and elderly subjects, the data revealed/showed a significant correlation between marginal alveolar bone loss and high systolic blood pressure (p=0.001).
Conclusions: The correlation between oral health care and medical health care registrations based on blood pressure and plasma glucose indicates that it may be appropriate for dental professionals to perform opportunistic medical screening and refer risk patients to the medical care system before complications occur. In order to identify medical risk patients in dental settings on the basis of high blood pressure, a suggestion may be to examine middle-aged men and elderly patients of both sexes who exhibit radiographic markers for marginal alveolar bone loss.
Keywords: Blood pressure, dental settings, diabetes mellitus, elderly, medical screening, men, periodontal status