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Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2007 Sep;62(9):605-15.

Periodontal disease and pregnancy outcomes: state-of-the-science.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.


To examine the existing evidence on the relationship between periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes, we conducted a systematic review of studies published up to December 2006. Studies published in full text were identified by searching computerized databases (e.g., MEDLINE, EMBASE). A meta-analysis was performed to pool the effect size of the clinical trials. Forty-four studies were identified (26 case-control studies, 13 cohort studies, and 5 controlled trials). The studies focused on preterm low birth weight, low birth weight, preterm birth, birth weight by gestational age, miscarriage or pregnancy loss, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes mellitus. Of the chosen studies, 29 suggested an association between periodontal disease and increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcome (odds ratios [ORs] ranging from 1.10 to 20.0) and 15 found no evidence of an association (ORs ranging from 0.78 to 2.54). A meta-analysis of the clinical trials suggested that oral prophylaxis and periodontal treatment may reduce the rate of preterm low birth weight (pooled risk ratio (RR): 0.53, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.30-0.95, P < 0.05), but did not significantly reduce the rates of preterm birth (pooled RR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.55-1.11, P > 0.05) or low birth weight (pooled RR: 0.86, 95% CI: 0.58%1.29, P > 0.05). The authors conclude that periodontal disease may be associated with increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. More methodologically rigorous studies are needed in this field. Currently, there is insufficient evidence to support the provision of periodontal treatment during pregnancy for the purpose of reducing adverse pregnancy outcomes.


Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians.


After completion of this article, the reader should be able to state that the published literature is not vigorous to clinically link periodontal disease and/or its treatment to specific adverse pregnancy outcomes, and explain that more rigorous studies with world-wide agreed-upon definitions are particularly needed before periodontal disease treatment can be recommended.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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