A recent study has linked periodontal disease during pregnancy to worse health outcomes for mothers and their children.
Researchers from the pediatrics department at the Botucatu Medical School in Brazil studied the potential health consequences of periodontal diseases during pregnancy on maternal and infant health. Their study included 138 pregnant women who gave birth and were all in good general health in the second trimester of pregnancy.
The study found that women who had severe periodontal disease during pregnancy were more likely to experience premature membrane rupture and inflammation. Their offspring also were more likely to experience fetal growth restrictions.
About two-thirds of the women experienced periodontal disease during their pregnancy and 18% had severe periodontal disease.
The odds of fetal growth restriction were 11 times higher in women with severe periodontal disease than those without periodontal disease. In addition, women with severe periodontal disease were 5.6 times more likely to experience premature rupture of the membranes.
The authors noted two key limitations of their research. First, the study included a relatively small sample size, which resulted in a low occurrence of some negative health outcomes known to occur with periodontal disease. In addition, the authors could not determine whether the women received dental treatment following a diagnosis of periodontal disease.
The authors intend to take what they learned from the study and promote more oral health care for pregnant women.
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