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Scientists find link between periodontal disease and preterm delivery

By Dental Tribune International
February 22, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla., U.S.: In a new study, researchers compared the oral health status of women with preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM) and women with normal singleton pregnancies. According to the results, pregnant women with PPROM had a higher incidence of periodontal disease than women with uncomplicated pregnancies.

The cohort study was carried out by a group of Czech scientists and supported by the University Hospital Hradec Králové in the Czech Republic. The researchers evaluated the oral hygiene and periodontal status of 78 women with PPROM at the gestational ages of between 0 and 24 weeks and 6 and 36 weeks and of 77 women with normal pregnancies and corresponding gestational age without preterm delivery.

The study reported an increased risk of dental diseases in women with preterm deliveries. Early labor was associated with higher gingival indices, with women with PPROM recording four times lower periodontal health scores than those who had a normal birth. Furthermore, women who went into early labor had eight times more dental plaque. Factors such as smoking proved insignificant and did not influence the scores.

The study also found that early birth rates were more common for women with untreated dental caries or with fillings, which, according to the Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr. Nigel Carter, OBE, highlights the importance of oral health for overall well-being. “The health of our mouth can have a direct influence on many parts of our general health. This includes the chances of having a safer birth,” he noted.

The study, titled “Association between periodontal disease and preterm prelabor rupture of membranes,” was published in the February 2019 issue of the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

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