Hyperglycaemia not associated with poor oral health, study finds
HELSINKI, Finland: Scientists have previously identified obesity and increasing age as risk factors for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Some scholars believe that chronic oral and dental infections may also play a role in the progression of GDM. A recent study sought to examine whether poor oral health is associated with a history of GDM in women at high risk of the condition. Contrary to their hypothesis, the researchers discovered that GDM did not negatively affect women’s oral health.
The researchers assessed the oral health status of 115 women with and without a history of GDM. They performed full-mouth examinations five years after childbirth and calculated the number of teeth, the total dental index, and the number of decayed, missing and filled teeth. They also recorded bleeding on probing, probing depth, visible plaque index (VPI) and clinical attachment level and calculated the periodontal inflammatory burden index (PIBI). The researchers used questionnaires to assess the participants’ oral health habits, symptoms and own opinion of their oral health.
Nearly half of the women examined (45%) had a history of GDM. During the examination, the majority of the participants were found to have mild periodontitis (62%) and experienced bleeding on probing (46%). The data revealed that the VPI and PIBI scores were lower among women with a history of GDM. According to the researchers, all the women reported good subjective oral health. Women with a history of GDM, however, showed slightly better oral health parameters compared with women without a history of GDM.
“We need to emphasize the importance of oral health, especially for metabolically high-risk patients, and to provide them with adequate oral healthcare,” said co-author Hanna Poulsen, a researcher at the University of Helsinki. “We are now planning on studying the metabolic health status of study participants five years after delivery and also their oral microbiology and salivary biomarkers. In the future, it would also be important to focus on the oral health of women at risk for GDM before, during and after pregnancy,” she concluded.
The study, titled “Oral health in women with a history of high gestational diabetes risk”, was published online on 3 September 2019 in Dentistry Journal.