Pregnant women with gum disease risk developing diabetes

WASHINGTON - Dental researchers have got evidence that pregnant women with gum disease increasingly risk developing gestational diabetes (GD), marked by an inability to transport glucose - the main source of fuel for the body - to the cells, even if they do not smoke or drink.

The condition usually disappears when the pregnancy ends, but women who have had GD are at a greater risk of developing the most common form of diabetes, known as Type 2 diabetes, later in life.

Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans are at the highest risk for developing gestational diabetes.

The study, led by Ananda P. Dasanayake, professor of epidemiology at New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) along with University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, examined 190 pregnant Sri Lankan women, who did not smoke or drink because of cultural taboos and poverty.

That study, which followed 256 Hispanic women at New York’s Bellevue Hospital Centre through their first six months of pregnancy, showed that 22 of the women developed gestational diabetes.

Those women had significantly higher levels of periodontal bacteria and inflammation than the Hispanic women in the study.

More than a third of the Sri Lankan women in the new study, which was conducted over the course of a year, reported having bleeding gums when they brushed their teeth.

The women were given a dental examination and a glucose challenge test, which is used specifically to screen for gestational diabetes. According to Dasanayake, those women found to have the greatest amount of bleeding in their gums also had the highest levels of glucose in their blood, said a NYUCD release.

Dasanayake presented the findings Monday at the annual meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Miami. They were also published in the April issue of the Journal of Dental Research.

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