Women with gum disease likely to have premature babies

Last Updated: Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 00:00

London: It`s important to take care of the teeth and if you are pregnant, you should be doubly careful. A new study says pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to have premature babies.

The research found women with gum disease were over three times more likely to give birth prematurely than mothers-to-be with good oral health. They also had a one in four chance of giving birth before 35 weeks, reported a website.

More than 1,000 pregnant women between six and 20 weeks gestation were followed for the study. The 160 participants diagnosed with periodontal (gum) disease were compared to the 872 pregnant women who had good levels of oral health.

The results showed that those who were treated for the condition with scaling and root planning were significantly less likely to have a preterm birth at less than 35 weeks.

Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, believes the study adds to the growing evidence that links gum disease with pre-term babies.

"It is further strong evidence that pregnant women should take care of their teeth and receive appropriate treatment during their pregnancy to reduce as far as possible their chance of a pre-term birth," said Carter.

"Due to hormone changes during pregnancy, some women`s dental health needs closer attention during this time. For instance, you may notice that your gums appear to bleed more easily.

"This means that you must keep a high standard of oral hygiene, visiting your dentist regularly. This may include appointments with the dental hygienist for thorough cleaning, and advice on caring for your teeth at home," he added.

The research was publicised at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research in Washington.


First Published: Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 00:00

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