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Dental Visits May Help Your Baby Arrive as Planned

Dental Visits May Help Your Baby Arrive on Schedule

May 07, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chicago - May 1, 2007 - There is good news today for pregnant women: a study in this month’s issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) showed that periodontal therapy may significantly reduce the risk of delivering a preterm low birth weight baby for women with periodontal disease.
Take Action
Four simple tips for staying on track with your oral health:
  • Brush and floss your teeth daily.
  • Visit the dentist twice each year.
  • Remember that all foods stimulate bacterial growth in the mouth. The sooner you can brush after eating, the better.
  • Be especially vigilant with oral care when consuming candies, cookies, and other sugary foods.

  • The study looked at 328 pregnant women with periodontal disease and 122 periodontally healthy women. Periodontal treatment was performed during the second trimester of pregnancy on 266 of the women with periodontal disease. Sixty-two women dropped out of treatment. Postpartum follow up on all 450 subjects showed that 79 percent of the women with untreated periodontal disease had delivered a preterm low birth weight baby compared to only 7.5 percent of the periodontally treated women and 4.1 percent of the healthy women.

    “Our study showed that performing periodontal therapy on pregnant women who have periodontal disease may reduce the risk of preterm delivery to equal that of periodontally healthy women,” explained study author Catia M. Gazolla, DDS. “These are important findings that we hope all pregnant women will take to their dental professionals when discussing their periodontal health.”

    “These findings are interesting, as they come on the heels of another study appearing in the May issue of the JOP that showed the effects of high levels of periodontal bacteria during pregnancy on increased risk for preterm delivery,” said Preston D. Miller, DDS and AAP president. “These studies and others continue to strengthen the idea that women should consider a periodontal evaluation as part of their prenatal care.”

    To asses your oral health, take the AAP's online test to assess your gum disease risk. A referral to a periodontist in your area and free brochure samples including one titled Maintaining Periodontal Health Throughout a Woman’s Life are available by calling 800-FLOSS-EM (800-356-7736) or visiting the AAP's Web site at www.perio.org.

    The American Academy of Periodontology is an 8,000-member association of dental professionals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants. Periodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.
    For more information, contact the AAP Public Affairs Department at 312/573-3243 or 312/573-3242.

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