Dental infection linked to diabetes during pregnancy

October 5, 2006

Madeline Vann
Phone: 504-247-1425

Nearly one out of two women with gestational diabetes also have periodontal disease according to research released this month by Tulane University researchers. In contrast, just over one in ten pregnant women without gestational diabetes have periodontal disease. The study, available in the October issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is the first to demonstrate a link between poor oral health and diabetes during pregnancy.

Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the gums and mouth. Gestational diabetes is an inability to process dietary sugars normally during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes puts women and their babies at increased risk of injury and illness. The team of researchers analyzed health data from 256 pregnant women who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study III. Based on their analysis, the researchers recommend that dental care during pregnancy should be considered as a way to help prevent gestational diabetes.

Study authors are Tulane obstetrician Gabriella Pridjian; Tulane epidemiologists Xiong Xu and Pierre Buekens; and LSU dental health researcher Sotirios Vastardis.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000