For a long time, we’ve known that risk factors such as smoking, alcohol use, and drug use contribute to mothers having babies that are born prematurely at a low birth weight.
Now evidence is mounting that suggests a new risk factor – periodontal disease. Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small.
More research is needed to confirm how periodontal disease may affect pregnancy outcomes. It appears that periodontal disease triggers increased levels of biological fluids that induce labor. Furthermore, data suggests that women whose periodontal condition worsens during pregnancy have an even higher risk of having a premature baby.
All infections are cause for concern among pregnant women because they pose a risk to the health of the baby. The Academy recommends that women considering pregnancy have a periodontal evaluation.
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