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Pregnant women who receive adequate dental care reduce their risk of giving birth to a low birth weight or preterm baby, new research suggests.
The study, conducted at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, looked at medical and dental insurance data pertaining to 29,000 women.
Researchers found that women who did not receive dental care during their pregnancy gave birth to a preterm baby 11 percent of the time and a low birth weight baby 5.4 percent of the time.
In comparison, those who visited the dentist had a preterm birthrate of 6.4 percent and a low birth weight rate of 3.6 percent.
Commenting on the findings, Dr David A Albert of the College of Dental Medicine at Columbia University said that further research should be carried out on the links between birth and dental care.
"But our findings show that dental treatment had a protective effect on adverse birth outcomes in women who sought dental treatment," he added.
The Academy of General Dentistry recommends that pregnant women schedule dental visits for their first and second trimesters.
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