Preterm birth is the number one cause of neonatal mortality in the U.S., with substantial cost burdens. If treatment of periodontal disease in pregnant women improved pregnancy outcomes, this would be a significant public health benefit.
Numerous studies have documented an association between maternal periodontal disease and preterm birth and low birth weight. There are several potential explanations for this association. Periodontal disease may have direct effects on the uterus through bacteremia causing direct infection of the chorioamnion. However, it is more likely that an indirect mechanism mediated by a systemic inflammatory response occurs.
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