While a number of factors are associated with an increased rate of preterm birth, such as low body-mass index, alcohol consumption and smoking, the study adds to the body of research that suggests oral infection may also be associated with such an increase.
The study looked at 322 pregnant women, all with gum disease. Half the group was given oral-hygiene instruction and treated with scaling and root planning, which consists of cleaning above and below the gum line. The second half received only oral-hygiene instruction.
The incidence of preterm birth was high in both the treatment group and the untreated group: 52.4 percent of the women in the untreated control group had a preterm baby compared with 45.6 percent in the treatment group. These differences were not statistically significant.
However, researchers then looked at whether the success of periodontal treatment was associated with the rate of preterm birth. Participants were examined 20 weeks after the initial treatment, and success was characterized by reduced inflammation, no increase in probing depth and loosening of the teeth.
Within the treatment group of 160 women, 49 were classified as having successful gum treatment and only four, or 8 percent, had a preterm baby. In comparison, 111 women had unsuccessful treatment and 69, or 62 percent, had preterm babies.
The results show that pregnant women who were resistant to the effects of scaling and root planning were significantly more likely to deliver preterm babies than those for whom it was successful.
The mean age of the women in the study was 23.7 years; 87.5 percent were African-American, and 90 percent had not seen a dentist for tooth cleaning.
"First and foremost, this study shows that pregnant women can receive periodontal treatment safely in order to improve their oral health," said Marjorie Jeffcoat, professor of periodontics at Penn Dental Medicine and lead author of the paper. "Second, in a high risk group of pregnant women, such as those patients who participated in this study, successful periodontal treatment when rendered as an adjunct to conventional obstetric care may reduce the incidence of preterm birth."
Future papers will address the role of antimicrobial mouth rinses in reducing the incidence of preterm birth.
"Researchers have previously suggested that severe gum infections cause an increase in the production of prostaglandin and tumour necrosis factor, chemicals which are associated with preterm labor," Philip Steer, editor-in-chief of BJOG, said. "This new study shows a strong link between unsuccessful gum-disease treatment and preterm birth; however, we need to bear in mind that 69 percent of women failed to respond to the dental treatment given. Therefore, more effective treatment will need to be devised before we can be sure that successful treatment improves outcome, rather than simply being a marker of pregnancies with a lower background level of inflammation that will go to term anyway."
The study was conducted by Jeffcoat, Mary Sammel, Bonnie Clothier and Annette Catlin of Penn Dental Medicine; Samuel Parry of the Department of Maternal and Fetal Medicine at Penn's School of Medicine; and George Macones of Washington University in St. Louis.
The study was funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and an educational grant from the Procter and Gamble Company.
Jordan Reese | EurekAlert!
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
18.10.2017 | Health and Medicine
18.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences