Submitted Successfully!
To reward your contribution, here is a gift for you: A free trial for our video production service.
Thank you for your contribution! You can also upload a video entry or images related to this topic.
Version Summary Created by Modification Content Size Created at Operation
1 -- 2118 2022-11-03 09:25:46 |
2 layout -1 word(s) 2117 2022-11-04 03:06:50 |

Video Upload Options

Do you have a full video?


Are you sure to Delete?
If you have any further questions, please contact Encyclopedia Editorial Office.
Priede, A.;  Lau, P.;  Darby, I.;  Morgan, M.;  Mariño, R. Diabetes Screening in a Dental Setting. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 30 May 2024).
Priede A,  Lau P,  Darby I,  Morgan M,  Mariño R. Diabetes Screening in a Dental Setting. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed May 30, 2024.
Priede, Andre, Phyllis Lau, Ivan Darby, Mike Morgan, Rodrigo Mariño. "Diabetes Screening in a Dental Setting" Encyclopedia, (accessed May 30, 2024).
Priede, A.,  Lau, P.,  Darby, I.,  Morgan, M., & Mariño, R. (2022, November 03). Diabetes Screening in a Dental Setting. In Encyclopedia.
Priede, Andre, et al. "Diabetes Screening in a Dental Setting." Encyclopedia. Web. 03 November, 2022.
Diabetes Screening in a Dental Setting

With type 2 diabetes prevalence increasing globally, and the condition associated with many acute and chronic complications, oppurtunistic screening for dysglycaemia in the dental setting has been suggested to identify asymptomatic individuals.  For screening to be effective, individuals at risk of diabetes, need to adhere to their oral health professionals’ (OHP) referral advice and attend medical follow-up for definitive diagnosis of their glycemic status. A scoping research of the literature selecting studies of diabetes screening in a dental setting that recorded compliance to referral to follow-up, and explored any barriers and facilitators to adherence, found referral compliance was low and reported barriers and facilitators to attending medical follow-ups included accessibility, cost, knowledge of the condition, and OHP characteristics.

type 2 diabetes prediabetes referral compliance

1. Introduction

Globally, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that 451 million adults have diabetes worldwide in 2017 and a further 352 million adults have impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes) [1]. It is estimated that 1.2 million (6%) Australian adults aged 18 years and over had diabetes (type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes) in 2017–2018 [2]. In addition, the prevalence of previously undiagnosed diabetes may be approximately 25% of that of known diabetes [3] and one in six Australian adults have prediabetes [4].
Diabetes is associated with many acute and chronic complications. The chronic complications of diabetes include macrovascular complications (cardiovascular disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease) and microvascular complications (retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy) [5]. The morbidity and mortality associated with the complications of diabetes are major contributors to healthcare costs, with the annual costs attributed to diabetes in Australia in 2010 estimated at $14.6 billion [6].
Amongst the chronic complications of diabetes is an increased prevalence, extent and severity of periodontal diseases (periodontitis and gingivitis) [7]. The relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease is bidirectional, as severe periodontitis may worsen glycemic control in people with diabetes [8]. Studies have shown that periodontal therapy may improve metabolic control and thus improve overall health outcomes for people with diabetes [9].
Prediabetes is characterised by elevated blood glucose, but not satisfying the diagnostic criteria for diabetes [10]. People with prediabetes are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, and all-cause mortality [11]. Women with prediabetes before pregnancy have a higher risk of developing Gestational Diabetes Mellitus [10]. Recent studies have also demonstrated that periodontal inflammation parameters including alveolar bone loss [12] and bleeding on periodontal probing [13], are worse in individuals with prediabetes compared to healthy individuals.
It has been estimated that three-quarters of people with diabetes receive a “delayed diagnosis,” meaning that within six months of diagnosis, they have already developed at least one diabetes-related comorbidity or complication [14]. Early detection of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes should enable optimal management, and in the case of prediabetes, reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Screening can be defined as ‘‘the examination of asymptomatic people in order to classify them as likely or unlikely to have a disease” [15]. For individuals with undiagnosed prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, screening often represents the first step in obtaining a diagnosis of diabetes, which then may result in the initiation of interventions that can delay or even prevent diabetes-associated complications.
In Australia, the recommended protocol for screening for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is administering a non-invasive risk assessment and referring individuals at increased risk of dysglycaemia to a General Medical Professional (GP) for diagnostic follow-up and management [16]. The Australian Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool (AUSDRISK) was developed for the Australian population and offers a simple, non-invasive assessment to detect adults at elevated risk of dysglycaemia [17][18]. Those individuals identified as being at high risk are recommended to receive either a fasting venous blood glucose test, HbA1c or Oral Glucose Tolerance Test [16].
Most disease screening in Australia occurs opportunistically, often undertaken when patients attend healthcare professionals for reasons unrelated to the disease. When individuals consult with a GP, it is often for a problem and not a checkup [19], and awareness and application of the AUSDRISK has been found to be low amongst Australian GPs [17]. Given the bidirectional relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease, the oral manifestations of diabetes are common and readily identifiable by oral health professionals (OHPs). Since a significant proportion of the population has an annual dental check-up [20], the dental setting affords an additional location for administering a diabetes risk assessment.

2. Rates of Referral Compliance

For the papers included in this research, the mean referral compliance was 54% of referred patients. The highest referral compliance rate of 90% was reported in the Swedish study [21] while the lowest rate of 25% was reported in the Australian study [22]. It should be noted that some studies followed up with participants for up to three years after screening [21] while others followed up for only two weeks to six months [23][24][25]. Furthermore, confidence intervals were not always reported for all referral compliance rates, making it difficult to ascertain the variations or make comparisons. Nevertheless, the generally low level of referral compliance amongst screened patients represents a considerable barrier to effective diabetes screening in the dental setting. Comparable low rates of referral compliance have been reported in the literature for opportunistic diabetes screening in other primary care settings, including pharmacies and emergency departments. A systematic review and meta-analysis of diabetes screening conducted in community pharmacies concluded that although screening identified a significant number of individuals at a high risk of having diabetes, many of these individuals did not attend a follow-up appointment with their HCP [26]. Studies reporting referral compliance after diabetes screening in an Emergency Department have found attendance rates for a confirmatory follow-up to be between 38% [27] and 73% [28].
Similarly, research investigating referral compliance following screening for other medical conditions has found low rates of follow-up attendance. When the dental setting has been utilised to screen for sleep apnoea, less than half of referred participants attended medical follow-ups [29][30]. Screening efforts for diabetic eye disease [31], elevated cholesterol [32], and follow-up after an abnormal pap smear result [33] have also been hampered by low rates of compliance to post-screening referral.

3. Barriers and Facilitators to Referral Compliance in the Dental Setting (Patient Factors)

Factors impacting compliance to referral are complex and are linked with parameters, such as age, gender, stage of condition and disease complications [31][33].
Six publications reported patients’ reasons for choosing to comply with referral advice or not, after diabetes screening in a dental setting. One study identified patient demographic characteristics that may predict attendance to medical follow-up, finding older participants were more likely to comply with referral advice than younger participants although no specific reasons were elucidated [34]. Research in other primary care settings has reported demographic variables, such as increasing age for cervical cancer screening [33], have facilitated referral compliance following the medical screening. Hui et al. suggested this may be because younger women (under 30 years old) might be less able to manage the psychological distress associated with cervical cancer risk and its medical follow-up. Social and economic factors, such as unemployment, lack of social support, andlow education level, have also been found to negatively influence attendance following screening for cervical cancer [35].
The diabetes risk assessment results are interpreted by the OHP, who then communicates the findings to the participant. If a referral is indicated, it is the choice of the individual to act upon the advice or not. The way risk is perceived by the screening participant may influence whether they perform behaviours that reduce or prevent the risk [36]. The perception that diabetes was not serious enough to justify a follow-up visit [24][37], or that other health concerns took precedence [22], were reported as reasons for non-compliance in several studies in this research. Rosedale et al. found that patients would either perceive diabetes screening as being an opportunity to act, and this would encourage referral compliance, or a burden, and therefore, not attend medical follow-up [37].
An individual’s knowledge about the medical condition in question may also influence their perception of risk [36]. A lack of knowledge about diabetes [37] was reported as a barrier to referral compliance in this research. Knowledge about the condition being screened for has been reported as a facilitator of referral compliance for some conditions, such as type 2 diabetes [38] and a barrier, because of the distress and fear knowledge of the condition creates for breast [39] and cervical cancer [35].
The screening protocol employed in the dental setting may also influence the participants’ risk perception and thus referral compliance. A study that employed two screening tools: A questionnaire and a point of care Hb A1c test, found the number of positive screening results a participant received would influence their decision whether to attend a follow-up or not. Individuals that screened positive for both tests, were three times more likely to attend a medical assessment [23]. A study that explored patients’ perceptions of, and reactions to a diabetes screening protocol in the primary care setting, found patient perceptions changed as they progressed through a three-step screening pathway [38]. The initial screening steps were often viewed as unimportant, and it was not until the final diagnostic test (step three), that type 2 diabetes was considered a strong possibility. The researchers suggested that participants experienced a process of psychological adjustment from the first screening test which was approached without considering its implications, to the final test where they were confronted with the possibility of having diabetes.
Diabetes screening conducted in the dental setting requires a referral pathway from OHP to GP, and one potential barrier to completing the screening protocol identified by Mariño and colleagues [22] was arranging a medical follow-up appointment for screened individuals. Less than half of screened respondents in this research reported that the booking of medical appointments was easy, and this may have contributed to some individuals at high risk of developing diabetes, delaying or not receiving a follow-up assessment from their GP. However, part of this research was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic when restrictions on movement were in place, and two study participants cited COVID-19 as a reason for not attending follow-up. Additional barriers reported in the literature that may hinder booking a medical follow-up appointment have included cost [22][24], the individual relocating overseas [22][24], time constraints [24][40], cultural and religious reasons [24], and in one study simply losing the referral letter [24].

4. Barriers and Facilitators to Referral Compliance in the Dental Setting (OHP Factors)

Several papers in this research identified OHP factors, such as their communication skills, and the OHP and patient relationship, as a predictor of patients’ compliance with referrals. Rosedale et al. reported having a positive interaction with the OHP and good communication skills increased the likelihood of referral compliance [37]. Studies of disease screening have identified the role of HCP factors, such as effective communication [29], the screened individual having an existing relationship with an HCP [41], and positive interactions between the HCP and patient [38], facilitating referral compliance. Conversely, poor communication and a lack of rapport with the HCP has been identified as a barrier to referral adherence [42]. This suggests that the OHP providing information about the medical condition being screened for, engaging participants in the discussion, and as reported in one study, organising post-screening reminder calls [37], may encourage referral compliance.
The location of the oral health service where screening was undertaken, influenced the referral compliance in one study which found 78 % of individuals screened in a community clinic attended medical follow-up, compared with 21 % of those that were screened in a private dental practice [43]. The underlying reasons for this difference are not clear, as most participants simply chose not to seek care without providing an explicit explanation.

5. Behavioural Model That Explains Patient’s Compliance to Referral Recommendations

The development of a behavioural model enables to understand behaviours and the factors that influence them. It is only by understanding the determinants of behaviour, that effective evidence-based interventions may be designed to change it.  This scoping research identified only one paper that proposed a behavioural framework that may explain an individual’s decision to attend medical follow-ups post-diabetes screening [37]. Adapting a model developed to explain barriers to hypertension treatment and follow-up [44], Rosedale et al. proposed that intention, capability, healthcare system, and fear and denial barriers, influenced referral compliance. They categorised intentions, as the attitudes and motivation towards seeking medical follow-up. Capability barriers related to knowledge about the condition (type 2 diabetes) and understanding the importance of follow-up. Healthcare system barriers included affordability, acceptability and access to medical care. The final component of the model was fear of the consequences of positive screening, participants’ denial about the association between prediabetes and diabetes, and not believing themselves to have diabetes [37].

6. Conclusion

This scoping research highlights a gap in the knowledge regarding the barriers and facilitators that influence referral compliance following a diabetes risk assessment in the dental setting. Further research is indicated to understand what the barriers and facilitators to referral compliance behaviour are, to enable the development of interventions to maximise the number of patients that follow up the advice of their HCP and complete the diabetes screening pathway.


  1. IDF Diabetes Atlas—2017. Available online: (accessed on 5 July 2020).
  2. Sainsbury, E.; Shi, Y.; Flack, J.; Colagiuri, S. The diagnosis and management of diabetes in Australia: Does the “Rule of Halves” apply? Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2020, 170, 108524.
  3. Davis, W.A.; Peters, K.E.; Makepeace, A.; Griffiths, S.; Bundell, C.; Grant, S.F.A.; Ellard, S.; Hattersley, A.T.; Chubb, S.A.P.; Bruce, D.G.; et al. Prevalence of diabetes in Australia: Insights from the Fremantle Diabetes Study Phase II. Intern. Med. J. 2018, 48, 803–809.
  4. Twigg, S.M.; Kamp, M.C.; Davis, T.M.; Neylon, E.K.; Flack, J.R. Prediabetes: A position statement from the Australian Diabetes Society and Australian Diabetes Educators Association. Med. J. Aust. 2007, 186, 461–465.
  5. Twigg, S.; Wong, J. The imperative to prevent diabetes complications: A broadening spectrum and an increasing burden despite improved outcomes. Med. J. Aust. 2015, 202, 300–304.
  6. Lee, C.M.Y.; Goode, B.; Nørtoft, E.; Shaw, J.E.; Magliano, D.J.; Colagiuri, S. The cost of diabetes and obesity in Australia. J. Med. Econ. 2018, 21, 1001–1005.
  7. Sanz, M.; Ceriello, A.; Buysschaert, M.; Chapple, I.; Demmer, R.T.; Graziani, F.; Herrera, D.; Jepsen, S.; Lione, L.; Madianos, P.; et al. Scientific evidence on the links between periodontal diseases and diabetes: Consensus report and guidelines of the joint workshop on periodontal diseases and diabetes by the International diabetes Federation and the European Federation of Periodontology. Diabetes Res. Clin. Pract. 2018, 137, 231–241.
  8. Borgnakke, W.S.; Yl€ostalo, P.V.; Taylor, G.W.; Genco, R.J. Effect of periodontal disease on diabetes: Systematic review of epidemiologic observational evidence. J. Periodontol. 2013, 84, S135–S152.
  9. Simpson, T.C.; Weldon, J.C.; Worthington, H.V.; Needleman, I.; Wild, S.H.; Moles, D.R.; Stevenson, B.; Furness, S.; Iheozor-Ejiofor, Z. Treatment of periodontal disease for glycaemic control in people with diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2015, 11, CD004714.
  10. Bell, K.; Shaw, J.E.; Maple-Brown, L.; Ferris, W.; Gray, S.; Murfet, G.; Flavel, R.; Maynard, B.; Ryrie, H.; Pritchard, B.; et al. A position statement on screening and management of prediabetes in adults in primary care in Australia. Diabetes Res. Clin. Pract. 2020, 164, 108188.
  11. Huang, Y.; Cai, X.; Mai, W.; Li, M.; Hu, Y. Association between prediabetes and risk of cardiovascular disease and all cause mortality: Systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2016, 355, i5953.
  12. Saito, T.; Shimazaki, Y.; Kiyohara, Y.; Kato, I.; Kubo, M.; Iida, M.; Koga, T. The severity of periodontal disease is associated with the development of glucose intolerance in non-diabetics: The Hisayama study. J. Dent. Res. 2004, 83, 485–490.
  13. Andriankaja, O.M.; Joshipura, K. Potential association between prediabetic conditions and gingival and/or periodontal inflammation. J. Diabetes Investig. 2014, 5, 108–114.
  14. Roche, M.M.; Wang, P.P. Factors associated with a diabetes diagnosis and late diabetes diagnosis for males and females. J. Clin. Transl. Endocrinol. 2014, 1, 77–84.
  15. World Health Organization; Wilson, J.M.G.; Jungner, G. The Principles and Practice of Screening for Disease; World Health Organization: Geneva, Switzerland, 1966.
  16. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Management of Type 2 Diabetes: A Handbook for General Practice; The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners: East Melbourne, Australia, 2020.
  17. Wong, K.C.; Brown, A.M.; Li, S.C.H. Ausdrisk: Application in General Practice. Aust. Fam. Physician 2011, 40, 524–526.
  18. Chen, L.; Magliano, D.J.; Balkau, B.; Colagiuri, S.; Zimmet, P.Z.; Tonkin, A.M.; Mitchell, P.; Phillips, P.J.; Shaw, J.E. AUSDRISK: An Australian Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool based on demographic, lifestyle and simple anthropometric measures. Med. J. Aust. 2010, 192, 197–202.
  19. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Oral Health and Dental Care in Australia; AIHW: Canberra, Australia, 2020.
  20. Chrisopoulos, S.; Harford, J.E.; Ellershaw, A. Oral Health and Dental Care in Australia: Key Facts and Figures 2015; AIHW: Canberra, Australia, 2016.
  21. Engstrom, S.; Berne, C.; Gahnberg, L.; Svardsudd, K. Effectiveness of screening for diabetes mellitus in dental health care. Diabet. Med. 2013, 30, 239–245.
  22. Mariño, R.; Priede, A.; King, M.; Adams, G.G.; Sicari, M.; Morgan, M. Oral health professionals screening for undiagnosed type-2 diabetes and prediabetes: The iDENTify study. BMC Endocr Disord. 2022, 18, 22–183.
  23. Bould, K.; Scott, S.E.; Dunne, S.; Asimakopoulou, K. Uptake of screening for type 2 diabetes risk in general dental practice; an exploratory study. Br. Dent. J. 2017, 222, 293–296.
  24. Wright, D.; Muirhead, V.; Weston-Price, S.; Fortunesurgeries, F. Type 2 diabetes risk screening in dental practice settings: A pilot study. Br. Dent. J. 2014, 216, E15.
  25. Ziebolz, D.; Reiss, L.; Schmalz, G.; Krause, F.; Haak, R.; Mausberg, R.F. Different views of dentists and general medical practitioners on dental care for patients with diabetes mellitus and coronary heart diseases: Results of a questionnaire-based survey in a district of Germany. Int. Dent. J. 2018, 68, 197–203.
  26. Willis, A.R.P.; Gray, L.J.; Davies, M.; Khunti, K. The Effectiveness of Screening for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in a Community Pharmacy Setting. PLoS ONE 2014, 9, e91157.
  27. Ginde, A.A.; Delaney, K.E.; Lieberman, R.M.; Vanderweil, S.G.; Camargo, C.A., Jr. Estimated risk for undiagnosed diabetes in the emergency department: A multicenter survey. Acad. Emerg. Med. 2007, 14, 492–495.
  28. Friedman, S.M.; Vallipuram, J.; Baswick, B. Incidental findings of elevated random plasma glucose in the ED as a prompt for outpatient diabetes screening: A retrospective study. BMJ Open. Dec. 2013, 3, e003486.
  29. Saglam-Aydinatay, B.; Uysal, S.; Taner, T. Facilitators and barriers to referral compliance among dental patients with increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Acta Odontol. Scand. 2018, 76, 86–91.
  30. Dillow, K.; Essick, G.; Sanders, A.; Sheats, R.; Brame, J. Patient response to sleep apnea screening in a dental practice. J. Public Health Dent. 2016, 77, 13–20.
  31. Sia, J.T.; Gan, A.T.L.; Soh, B.P.; Fenwick, E.; Quah, J.; Sahil, T.; Tao, Y.; Tan, N.C.; Sabanayagam, C.; Lamoureux, E.L.; et al. Rates and Predictors of Nonadherence to Postophthalmic Screening Tertiary Referrals in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Transl. Vis. Sci. Technol. 2020, 9, 15.
  32. Maiman, L.A.; Hildreth, N.G.; Cox, C.; Greenland, P. Improving referral compliance after public cholesterol screening. Am. J. Public Health 1992, 82, 804–809.
  33. Khanna, N.; Phillips, M.D. Adherence to care plan in women with abnormal Papanicolaou smears: A review of barriers and interventions. J. Am. Board Fam. Pract. 2001, 14, 123–130.
  34. Herman, W.H.; Ye, W.; Griffin, S.J.; Simmons, R.K.; Davies, M.J.; Khunti, K.; Rutten, G.E.H.M.; Sandbaek, A.; Lauritzen, T.; Borch-Johnsen, K.; et al. Early Detection and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Reduce Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality: A Simulation of the Results of the Anglo-Danish-Dutch Study of Intensive Treatment in People With Screen-Detected Diabetes in Primary Care (ADDITION-Europe). Diabetes Care 2015, 38, 1449–1455.
  35. Hui, S.K.; Miller, S.M.; Wen, K.Y.; Fang, Z.; Li, T.; Buzaglo, J.; Hernandez, E. Psychosocial barriers to follow-up adherence after an abnormal cervical cytology test result among low-income, inner-city women. J. Prim. Care Community Health 2014, 5, 234–241.
  36. Paek, H.-J.; Hove, T. Risk Perceptions and Risk Characteristics; Springer: Berlin, Germany, 2017.
  37. Rosedale, M.T.; Strauss, S.M.; Kaur, N.; Knight, C.; Malaspina, D. Follow-up with primary care providers for elevated glycated haemoglobin identified at the dental visit. Int. J. Dent. Hyg. 2017, 15, e52–e60.
  38. Eborall, H.; Stone, M.; Aujla, N.; Taub, N.; Davies, M.; Khunti, K.; Eborall, H.; Stone, M.; Aujla, N.; Taub, N.; et al. Influences on the uptake of diabetes screening: A qualitative study in primary care. Br. J. Gen. Pract. 2012, 62, 204–211.
  39. Morman, N.A.; Byrne, L.; Collins, C.; Reynolds, K.; Bell, J.G. Breast Cancer Risk Assessment at the Time of Screening Mammography: Perceptions and Clinical Management Outcomes for Women at High Risk. J. Genet. Couns. 2017, 26, 776–784.
  40. Bossart, M.; Calley, K.H.; Gurenlian, J.R.; Mason, B.; Ferguson, R.E.; Peterson, T. A pilot study of an HbA1c chairside screening protocol for diabetes in patients with chronic periodontitis: The dental hygienist’s role. Int. J. Dent. Hyg. 2016, 14, 98–107.
  41. Goto, E.; Ishikawa, H.; Okuhara, T.; Kato, M.; Okada, M.; Kiuchi, T. Factors associated with adherence to recommendations to visit a physician after annual health checkups among Japanese employees: A cross-sectional observational study. Ind. Health 2018, 56, 155–159.
  42. Peterson, E.B.; Ostroff, J.S.; DuHamel, K.N.; D’Agostino, T.A.; Hernandez, M.; Canzon, M.R.; Byland, C.L. Impact of provider-patient communication on cancer screening adherence: A systematic review. Prev. Med. 2016, 93, 96–105.
  43. Genco, R.J.; Schifferle, R.E.; Dunford, R.G.; Falkner, K.L.; Hsu, W.C.; Balukjian, J. Screening for diabetes mellitus in dental practices: A field trial. J. Am. Dent. Assoc. 2014, 145, 57–64.
  44. Khatib, R.; Schwalm, J.D.; Yusuf, S.; Haynes, R.B.; McKee, M.; Khan, M.; Nieuwlaat, R. Patient and healthcare provider barriers to hypertension awareness, treatment and follow up: A systematic review and meta-analysis of qualitative and quantitative studies. PLoS ONE 2014, 9, e84238.
Contributors MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to : , , , ,
View Times: 330
Revisions: 2 times (View History)
Update Date: 04 Nov 2022
Video Production Service