Pregnant women with severe gum disease can be 7.5x more likely to give birth prematurely

In our last blog post, we discussed gum disease and its systemic effects on whole body health. Over the past few years, an increasing number of studies have shown the association between gum disease and the adverse outcomes in pregnancy. Some studies have shown that having gum disease places a pregnant woman at higher risk of having a pre-term birth than smoking or consuming alcohol1. Other studies have shown that pregnant women with severe gum disease are 7.5x more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small2. Preterm births are considered a major risk factor as well as cost factor

Earlier this year, both Business Week & BBC News ran articles linking gum disease to pre-term births. In a study of 160 pregnant women, those with unsuccessful treatment of gum disease were 3x more likely to give birth prematurely. Gum disease has been linked to triggering increased levels of a hormone-like molecule called prostaglandin that helps induce labour. Very high levels of prostaglandin are found in women with severe gum disease3, placing them at higher risk of pre-term births. Infants born prematurely have a higher risk of developing severe disabilities such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and blindness4.

Taking better care of oral health has been shown to decrease the possibility of pre-term births. In a study of 200 pregnant women published in the Journal of Periodontology, women who successfully treated their gum disease decreased their chance of delivering prematurely by almost 50%5. Studies like these are one of many that underline the importance of periodontal care in pregnant women. Equally as important is the growing need for physicians and patients alike to be aware of gum disease and the oral systemic link.

  1. Babalola D.A et al. Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy Outcomes. J Pregnancy 2010, Vol 10(1155)
  2. Offenbacer S et al. Effects of Periodontal Therapy During Pregnancy on Periodontal Status, Biological Parameters, and Pregnancy Outcomes: A Pilot Study” J Perio 2006, Vol 77(12)-2011
  3. American Academy of Periodontology
  4. Moster D, Lie RT, Markestad T (2008). “Long-Term Medical and Social Consequences of Preterm Birth”. New England Journal of Medicine 359 (3): 262–273.
  5. Tarannum F. et al. Effect of Periodontal Therapy on Pregnancy Outcome in Women Affected by Periodontitis. J Perio, Vol 78(11)-2095

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  1. An fascinating dialogue may be worth comment. I believe that you ought to create more on this particular topic, may possibly not be a taboo subject however usually people are not enough to speak upon such topics. To another. Cheers

  2. Thank you for sharing this informative article. It is a good guide of health effects linked to pregnancy.

  3. My wife is currently pregnant and this one is definitely very helpful.

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