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Periodontal disease linked to gestational diabetes
Updated: 3/25/2008 2:00:10 PM

A new study has highlighted the importance for pregnant women to maintain healthy teeth and gums before and during pregnancy.

Pregnant women with periodontal disease, or gum disease, were found to be more likely to develop gestational diabetes mellitus than pregnant women with healthy gums.

Published in the April 2008 issues of the Journal of Dental Research, researchers from New York University found that inflammation of the gums associated with periodontal disease could play a role in gestational diabetes by interfering with the normal functioning of insulin, which is the hormone that regulates glucose metabolism.

The study examined 256 pregnant women at New York's Bellevue Hospital Center in their first six months of pregnancy and found that out of the 22 women who had developed gestational diabetes also had much higher levels of periodontal bacteria and inflammation than those that did not have the certain type of pregnancy-induced diabetes.

Lead researcher Dr. Ananda P. Dasanayake, professor of epidemiology and health promotion at NYU College of Dentistry, said that the study's findings suggested that "women should see a dentist if they plan to get pregnant, and after becoming pregnant".

She added that research in the future is likely to explore the link between pregnancy and oral health as it relates to certain high risk groups such as Asian and Native American women.

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