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J Dent Res. 2002 Jan;81(1):58-63.

Higher risk of preterm birth and low birth weight in women with periodontal disease.

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Department of Conservative Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of Chile, Santiago.


Pregnant women with periodontal disease (PD) may be at increased risk for having preterm low-birth-weight (PLBW) children. We investigated whether the maintenance of the mothers' periodontal health after 28 weeks' gestation reduces the risk of PLBW. Of the 639 women studied, 406 had gingivitis and received treatment before 28 weeks' gestation, and 233 had PD and were treated after delivery. Data about previous and current pregnancies and known risk factors were obtained from patients' medical records. Primary outcomes were delivery before 37 weeks' gestation or an infant with birth weight below 2500 g. The incidence of PLBW was 2.5% in periodontally healthy women, and 8.6% in women with PD (p = 0.0004, relative risk = 3.5, 95% CI, 1.7 to 7.3). Risk factors significantly associated with PLBW were previous PLBW, PD, fewer than 6 pre-natal visits, and low maternal weight gain. PD was associated with both preterm birth and low birth weight, independent of other risk factors.

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