The more the mouth affected with periodontal disease, the more likely a woman is to deliver a premature baby, according to an ongoing study of more than 1500 pregnant women. Past studies have shown that women with periodontal disease may be up to seven times more likely to deliver a preterm low birth weight baby.
The women in the study had no other major risk factors for preterm birth, including genitourinary infections, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption. In the United States, about 25 percent of preterm births occur without any known risk factors. The results indicate further evidence that periodontal disease may be a significant risk factor for preterm births. Past studies have shown that women with periodontal disease may be up to seven times more likely to deliver a preterm low birth weight baby.
Women who are already pregnant should not shy away from dental care. "I advise periodontists to perform scaling and root planing, along with any supportive therapy, in the second trimester for pregnant patients with periodontal disease," said Dr. Jeffcoat.