Maternal periodontitis and its influence on duration of gestation and fetal birth weight
Keywords:Ante-natal care, Duration of gestation, Low birth weight, Maternal education, Periodontitis, Preterm birth
Background: There has been a lot of interest in knowing the effects of oral health on adverse pregnancy outcomes like preterm births and low birth weight. Studies have yielded contradicting results and there are lot of confounding issues that blur the picture. Aim of the study is to determine the prevalence of periodontitis is pregnant population and determine the effect of periodontitis on preterm births and low birth weight.
Methods: This was a cross sectional study of singleton pregnant women attending ante-natal checkups with oral interview and clinical examination. Oral examination was done at the beginning of third trimester of pregnancy. They were followed up to delivery to note the duration of gestation, birth weight of babies.
Results: The prevalence of periodontitis was 22% with 90.9% having mild and 9.1% having moderate periodontitis. Maternal education (high school and above) was associated with lower prevalence of periodontitis (p=0.042). There was no difference in the birth weights between the group with and without periodontitis (2.9±0.41kgs vs 2.74±0.36kgs, p=0.11). The incidence of low birth weights was also similar (p=0.22). The average gestational age was slightly less in the group with periodontitis (38 weeks 3 days vs 37 weeks 5 days) but the rates of preterm births were similar between the two groups (p=0.61).
Conclusions: Mild/moderate periodontitis does not appear to have a significant effect on pre-term births and low birth weight. Maternal education and awareness seem to mitigate development of periodontitis and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
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