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Mom's Gum Disease Raises Risk of Preterm Birth

Gum infections do more than cause problems for your heart and circulation.

Women who develop gum disease during pregnancy, as many do, are at increased risk for delivering prematurely and of delivering an infant of low birth weight, according to a study conducted in Chile.

The researchers reported that periodontal therapy to get rid of the bacteria in the plaque that coats the teeth reduced the risk of having preterm and low birth weight babies. It appears that infection in the mother plays a role in about half of all cases of premature deliveries.

There is evidence that periodontal pathogens can cross the placenta and produce infection in the fetus.

If you are pregnant and have a history of gum problems, please consult with one of our physicians. We can offer you a customized healthy diet plan that reduces risk of gum disease while still nourishing your baby. We can also prescribe supplements that will be helpful.

Source: Lopez, NJ et al, Periodontal Therapy Reduces the Rate of Preterm Low Birth Weight in Women With Pregnancy-Associated Gingivitis, J Periodontol. 2005 Nov;76(11-s):2144-2153.