Oral health during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of preterm birth, the study says

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A new study from the University of Sydney has shown that the treatment of gingivitis (inflammation that causes bleeding gums) during pregnancy is associated with a reduced risk of preterm birth and low birth weight in babies.

Published recently Journal of Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry, this first systematic review and meta-analysis examined whether the treatment of gingivitis in pregnant women affects pregnancy outcomes.

Globally, 20 million babies (15.5 percent of all births) are born with low birth weight (less than 2.5 kg) and nearly 11 percent of all live births are premature (before the 37th week of pregnancy).

Although periodontitis (severe gingivitis that is irreversible) has been shown to be associated with poor pregnancy outcomes, this study looked at whether general gingivitis, which can be cured and prevented, could also be associated with poor gestational outcomes.

More than 1,000 patients from three randomized controlled trials participated in the study, and the positive effect of good dental health was seen in the pregnancy outcomes of more than 600 women.

“Because of the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, pregnant women are prone to gingivitis, 60 to 75 percent, so it’s very common,” said senior author Professor Joerg Eberhard, director of lifelong oral health at the University of Sydney School of Dentistry. and Charles Perkins Center.

“Stomatitis can have systemic effects on the body. Gingivitis releases inflammatory markers and bacteria into the systemic circulation that can reach the placenta and cause poor pregnancy outcomes, such as premature birth.

“Our review found that even surprisingly mild inflammation in the oral cavity, which also includes the gums, can negatively affect pregnancy outcomes, including premature or low birth weight babies, so it is essential to manage this risk factor.”

Previous studies have shown that inflammatory responses during pregnancy negatively affect pregnancy outcomes.

“Our research shows that if gingivitis is treated during pregnancy, the risk of having a premature baby is reduced by about 50 percent or the birth weight increases by about 100 grams in low-weight babies,” she said.

“In fact, the risk was halved if the mother had good oral health, which is a convincing finding.

“The good news is that gingivitis treatment is very easy and inexpensive and available. A six-month dental checkup and cleaning will prevent and treat gingivitis.”

Lead author Quynh Anh of Le Sydney School of Dentistry, Faculty of Medicine and Health, said: “These findings increase the renewed focus on the impact of good oral health on general health, especially for pregnant women.

“Preventing gingivitis in women during pregnancy would offer huge health benefits.

“It is important that women and healthcare providers around the world know that taking care of oral hygiene is not just for the health of the mother, but also for the health of the baby.

“Regular dental check-ups, dental cleaning and the treatment of gingivitis should be an integral part of pregnancy care for all women.”

Professor Eberhard added: “The treatment of gingivitis in pregnant women to improve delivery rates is a global public health problem, especially given the high incidence of gingivitis in pregnant women and the ease of treatment of gingivitis compared to the treatment of periodontitis (gingivitis).

“All pregnant women should be encouraged to have dental check-ups and gingivitis treatment if necessary.

“Dental care for pregnant women should be provided free of charge to encourage mothers to visit regularly during pregnancy to prevent gingivitis.”

Researchers do not claim that gingivitis is the only cause of preterm birth and low birth weight, but that more vigilance is needed for gum health in addition to other prenatal treatments.


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More information:
The study is available in PDF format at www.quintessence-publishing.co… ew-and-meta-analysis

Previous study: Wei Guang Bi et al, The effect of periodontal treatment on perinatal outcomes during pregnancy: a systematic review and meta-analysis, The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine (2019). DOI: 10.1080 / 14767058.2019.1678142

Provided by the University of Sydney

Quotation: Oral health during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of preterm birth, says a study (November 20, 2021) retrieved on November 17, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-11-oral-health- pregnancy-pre- term-birth.html

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