Pregnant diabetics face a forewarning from severe periodontal disease than non-diabetic pregnant women, according to a study in the Journal of periodontology.
Researchers from the University of Iowa Colleges of Dentistry and Medicine compared 13 type 1 diabetic and 20 non-diabetic women in their 20-39th week of pregnancy to examine the effects of periodontal infection on the control of diabetes. They found the diabetics flaunted more gingival inflammation and deeper periodontal pockets than the non-diabetics.
"Many women experience periodontal problems, such as bleeding and swollen gums, during pregnancy," lead researcher Dr. Janet Guthmiller said. "But the more advanced periodontal disease we observed in pregnant diabetics, who are already considered high risk for pregnancy problems, may affect blood sugar control during this critical time." Additionally, periodontal disease may trigger increased levels of biological fluids that induce labor, and this response may be amplified in diabetics, Dr. Guthmiller said. "This self-perpetuating destruction could potentially further complicate diabetic control and pregnancy outcome in diabetic subjects."
Past studies have tied periodontal disease to increased risk of preterm, low birth weight babies among other complications. "Our hope is that periodontal evaluations will be routinely included in the prenatal care of pregnant diabetic women, just as ophthalmologic exams are," Dr. Guthmiller said.