A rapid test could be used by dentists to screen for diabetes and prediabetes

A rapid test developed in Finland for diagnosing periodontal disease could also be applied to screening diabetes and prediabetes, as indicated by a recently completed study.

Periodontal disease, also known as inflammatory gum disease, is demonstrably associated with a number of systemic diseases. According to several studies, one of its effects is an increased risk of a poor glucose balance and complications associated with diabetes in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. This connection is caused by bacteria related to the disease and the inflammation spreading from the mouth to the circulation and other parts of the body.

Now, an easy-to-use ‘chairside’ rapid test for diagnosing periodontal disease, known as aMMP-8, has been developed in Finland. The test, which has been on the market for approximately five years, is based on long-term research conducted by Professor Timo Sorsa at the University of Helsinki.

“The test is a simple immunotest that is able to measure the aMMP-8 concentration of oral fluids. MMP-8 is an enzyme whose elevated concentration indicates periodontal disease, for which an oral rinse test gives a result in five minutes,” explains Sorsa.

The University of Helsinki, Karolinska Institutet and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki have now investigated whether the aMMP-8 test could be used at the dentist’s office also to screen for diabetes and prediabetes. The test could be run for patients who fulfil certain criteria according to a questionnaire.

According to the researchers, the results of the study, published in the Diagnostics journal, confirm that the dentist’s office is ideal for screening for diabetes and that a point-of-care HbA1c test combined with the aMMP-8 rapid test is a reliable and efficient way of identifying undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes.

“It seems that the aMMP-8 rapid test is a useful tool for screening for both periodontal disease as well as diabetes and prediabetes,” Sorsa says.

Further information:

Timo Sorsa, professor

Phone: +358 40 737 4240

Email: timo.sorsa@helsinki.fi

Reference: Diagnostics 2019, 9(4), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics9040151