Many experts agree that dental health plays an important role in overall health, and can affect a wide range of bodily functions. A new study suggests that it is especially important for expectant mothers to keep a clean mouth.
A team of researchers from Case Western University found that there are bacteria that exist in the mouths of women with poor dental hygiene that can travel through the blood stream and affect the pregnancy.
The study showed that some of these bacteria, which cause inflammation, can even cause preterm births and occasionally stillbirths.
"What is happening with the oral bacteria colonizing in the placenta happens with other diseases that trigger an inflammatory response," said lead researcher Yiping Han. "We need to know which bacteria colonize in the placenta and design therapies for better treatments."
About 28,000 babies were delivered stillborn in the U.S. in 2005 with no outward signs of a cause of death, according to the National Stillbirth Society.
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