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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth


Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is glucose intolerance with first onset during pregnancy and is associated with serious maternal and fetal complications. The etiology of GDM is not well understood, but systemic inflammation effects on insulin signaling and glucose metabolism is suspected. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that induces local and host immune responses and has been evaluated for a potential role in development of GDM. Results from studies evaluating the association between periodontitis and GDM are mixed. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize available data regarding the association between periodontitis and GDM.

Methods: Twelve electronic databases were searched for observational studies of the association between periodontitis and GDM through March 2016. Eligible studies were assessed for quality and heterogeneity. Random effects models were used to estimate summary measures of association.

Results: We identified 44 articles from 115 potentially relevant reports of which 10 studies met our eligibility criteria. Clinical diagnostic criteria for periodontitis and GDM varied widely among studies, and moderate heterogeneity was observed. Random effects meta-analysis of all included studies with a total of 5724 participants including 624 cases, showed that periodontitis is associated with an increased risk of GDM by 66 %, (OR = 1.66, 95 % CI: 1.17 to 2.36; p < 0.05), I2 = 50.5 %. Similar results were seen in sub-analysis restricted to data from methodologically high quality case–control studies including 1176 participants including 380 cases, (OR = 1.85, 95 % CI: 1.03 to 3.32); p < 0.05), I2 = 68.4 %. Meta-analysis of studies that adjusted for potential confounders estimated more than 2-fold increased odds of GDM among women with periodontitis (aOR = 2.08, 95 % CI: 1.21 to 3.58, p = 0.009, I2 = 36.9 %).

Conclusion: Meta-analysis suggests that periodontitis is associated with a statistically significant increased risk for GDM compared to women without periodontitis. Robust prospective study designs and uniform definition for periodontitis and GDM definitions are urgently needed to substantiate these findings.