A past medical history of gestational diabetes: its medical significance and its dental implications

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Approximately 7% of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), a usually transient form of diabetes mellitus, because of the production of some placental and maternal adipose tissue elaborated hormones that alter glucose metabolism. In most women the disorder resolves at delivery, but within 10 years 50% to 70% of these women go on to develop type 2 diabetes. The identification of women with past medical histories of GDM is a clinically useful marker for alerting the dentist to patients at heightened risk of occult type 2 diabetes, with a possible greater risk of developing periodontal disease and dental caries. Screening these patients for diabetes and establishing a preventative dental regimen may result in reducing the number of women with undiagnosed diabetes and diabetes-associated dental and cardiovascular diseases.

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