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Successful periodontal therapy may reduce the risk of preterm birth, according to Penn dental study
Date:9/14/2010

men 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."


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Contact: Jordan Reese
jreese@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert

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