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Link between gum disease and gestational diabetes

linkgumdiseasdiabetes.jpgResearchers have found that pregnant women with gum disease may have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes than those with healthy gums. A study showed that the 8 percent of women who developed gestational diabetes had higher levels of gum-disease-causing bacteria and inflammation.

While gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and usually disappears once the baby is born, it can raise the risk of a woman developing type 2 diabetes later on. It can also lead to a larger baby, which could in turn require a woman to have a c-section.

The new findings, published in the Journal of Dental Research, suggest that gum disease may be a treatable risk factor for gestational diabetes.Researchers speculate that as gum disease can cause an inflammatory response throughout the body, it is possible that it may affect any pregnancy-related problems with blood sugar.

83 percent of the 265 women studied were Hispanic, a group with a higher-than-average risk of gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Those who developed gestational diabetes were much more likely to have been heavier before becoming pregnant, have had diabetes during a past pregnancy, and have higher levels of a marker for inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

Researchers say that future studies on other high risk groups, such as Asians and Native Americans, are important.This reaffirms the fact that visiting your dentist before and during pregnancy is extremely important. Treatment of gum disease during pregnancy is said to be safe.

SOURCE: Journal of Dental Research, April 2008.

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