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Study Finds Pregnancy Problems Not Linked With Gum Disease
October 18, 2012

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - Women whose babies are small or born early do not have a higher risk of periodontal (gum) disease, a study from Italy says.

The study included 750 women. They joined the study a few days after giving birth. Women were divided into two groups: cases and controls. Cases included women who:

  • Gave birth to a baby weighing less than 2.5 kilograms (about 5.5 pounds)
  • Gave birth prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy)
  • Had a baby that was small for its age
  • Had pregnancy-related high blood pressure or preeclampsia
  • Had a pregnancy-related condition called premature rupture of membranes

If a woman did not meet any of these criteria, she was placed in the control group.

All women were given a dental exam.

After taking smoking status into account, researchers did not find any link between problems with the pregnancy and periodontal disease. This means that women who gave birth early or had another pregnancy problem were not more likely to have periodontal disease at the end of pregnancy.

Some studies have shown more pregnancy problems among women with periodontal disease. Other studies have found no link. Pregnancy problems include having a low birth weight baby or giving birth too early.

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) says that more studies are needed to understand how periodontal disease may affect pregnancy outcomes. But it notes that any infection could be a risk to a baby's health. The AAP recommends that women be checked out for gum problems if they are thinking about getting pregnant.

The Italian study appears in the October issue of the Journal of Maternal, Fetal and Neonatal Medicine.

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