Gestational Diabetes and Gum Disease Possible Link to Type 2 Diabetes

June 12, 2013

According to researchers at Tulane University School of Public Health and the Woman’s Hospital Research Department, women with a history of gestational diabetes and periodontitis are potentially more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. In a recent study led by Tulane University’s Dr. Xu Xiong, scientists examined the potential effects periodontal disease can have on women with prior history of gestational diabetes. The findings were recently published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry in a study titled Periodontal disease as a potential risk factor for the development of diabetes in women with a prior history of gestational diabetes mellitus.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to provide direct evidence that periodontal disease may contribute to later development of impaired glucose metabolism in women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus,” the study says.

The study followed a group of 19 women who had gestational diabetes and 20 women with no history of the disease who were 22 months postpartum. After testing the participants for periodontitis and administering a glucose-tolerance test to the group, researchers then examined the insulin and glucose levels after 30 minutes, one hour and two hours.

In each reading, women with a history of gestational diabetes and periodontal disease showed higher insulin and glucose levels and a greater insulin resistance than women with just a history of gestational diabetes. The differences in those readings were greater among groups of women with periodontal disease and without gestational diabetes and groups of women without either disease.

According to the study, higher insulin and glucose levels may lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States, and the researchers call for more examination of the possible link between gestational diabetes, gum disease and type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes affects approximately 4-10 percent of pregnancies, and an estimated 35-60 percent of women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes in the future.