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. Several studies also demonstrate positive associations between periodontal disease, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes. There are several potential explanations for these associations. 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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Abariga, SA, Whitcomb, BW. Periodontitis and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Of Observational Studies. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. (2016) 16:344.
Vivares-Bulles, AM, Rangel-Rincón, LJ, et al. Gaps in Knowledge About the Association Between Maternal Periodontitis and Adverse Obstetric Outcomes: An Umbrella Review. J Evid Base Dent Pract 2018: [1-27].