The prevalence, activity and rate of progression of dental caries, as well as the periodontal histopathology (presence or absence of pathological pockets, structure and thickness of the osseous alveolar crest, and width of the marginal periodontal ligament) in prediabetic and diabetic white rats were studied.
The observations of caries activity (within the prediabetic period) were made on rats sacrificed forty-five days after being 95 per cent and 80 per cent pancreatectomized. A significant increment of caries activity was found in all aspects investigated in both groups of experimental animals with respect to normal and sham operated controls.
The histopathology of the periodontium of 95 per cent pancreatectomized rats sacrificed ten months after the operation with diabetes of several months and varying degrees of hyperglycemia showed morphological alterations of the osseous alveolar crest, with significant thickening of the marginal periodontal ligament. This process could be observed very early in prediabetes in rats with normal blood sugar, no glycosuria, and normal diuresis and body weight, sacrificed three months after the operation.
Even though it seems to be indisputable that alterations of carbohydrate metabolism in diabetic rats have an aggravating effect, changes in prediabetes suggest that the observed caries and lesions of the periodontium start very early and independently of the diabetic changes in carbohydrate metabolism.