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In a change from earlier reports, periodontal disease does not appear to be linked to an increased risk of preterm birth and other pregnancy difficulties, according to a report in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
"Although the biologic plausibility and the potential for a treatment that could reduce preterm birth and other adverse outcomes were promising," wrote the researchers, led by Dr. Sindhu K. Srinivas of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, "this study demonstrates that no association between periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes exists."
Because gum disease is linked to infection and inflammation, which are also theorized to increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, it seemed biologically plausible for there to be a link between the two, according to Srinivas.
Some reports estimate the almost 50 percent of the population has some form of gum disease. A lack of dental insurance is often associated with poor dental health, and many without dental insurance lack other health insurance as well. Proper dental hygiene and regular visits to a dentist are the most effective tools to prevent gum disease, which remains linked to a number of medical conditions.
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