-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 20 million
Americans who see a dentist at least once a year don't see a doctor
or other general health care provider, which suggests that dentists
could screen these people for systemic health disorders, such as
high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, a new study
New York University investigators analyzed data from more than
31,200 adults who took part in the 2008 U.S. National Health
Based on those findings, the researchers determined that 26
percent of U.S. children did not see a general health care provider
(physician, physician assistant, nurse, nurse practitioner), but
more than one-third (7 million) of those children did visit a
dentist at least once in 2008.
One-quarter of U.S. adults did not visit a general health care
provider, but nearly a fourth (13 million) of those adults visited
a dentist at least once in 2008.
Eighty-five percent of the adults and 93 percent of the children
had health insurance. This suggests that many of those who did not
see a general health care provider may have had access to general
care, but chose not to seek it, the researchers said.
They said their findings suggest that dentists could play an
important role in identifying health problems that might otherwise
go undetected in a large segment of the population.
"For these and other individuals, dental professionals are in a key position to assess and detect oral signs and symptoms of systemic health disorders that may otherwise go unnoticed, and to refer patients for follow-up care," Dr. Shiela Strauss, an associate professor of nursing at the New York University College of Nursing and co-director of the statistics and data management core for NYU's Colleges of Nursing and Dentistry, said in an NYU news release.
She explained that dentists and dental hygienists can take a
patient's health history, check blood pressure and use direct
clinical observation and X-rays to detect risk for systemic health
The study was published Dec. 15 in the
American Journal of Public Health.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.