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Untreated periodontal disease linked to increased risk of preterm birth
Updated: 3/9/2010 3:00:11 PM

Untreated periodontal disease linked to increased risk of preterm birth Pregnant women should carefully monitor their dental health and may want to schedule an appointment with their dentist as soon as possible. According to a recent study presented March 5 during the 39th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research, the successful treatment of periodontal disease can significantly lower the incidence of preterm birth.

In the study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania recruited 872 expectant mothers with and without periodontal disease who were between six and 20 weeks gestation. A total of 160 participants with the disease were treated with scaling and root planning.

After a period of follow-up, the researchers found that subjects without periodontal disease had a 7.2 percent rate of premature birth, while untreated patients had a 23.4 percent rate of prematurity. The two groups were compared using odds ratios, standard bivariate statistics and logistic regression analysis.

Expectant mothers in need of care who do not have dental insurance may want to invest in a discount dental plan, which can provide significant savings on the majority of procedures.

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