Skip to content

    Health & Pregnancy

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Latest Pregnancy Threat: Gum Disease

    By
    WebMD Health News

    March 8, 2002 -- Gum disease is as big a threat to pregnancy as alcohol and smoking, a five-year study shows.

    Dangerous bacteria from the mother's mouth get into her bloodstream and target the developing baby. This doubles the risk of having a premature baby, says Steven Offenbacher, DDS, PhD. Offenbacher is director of the center for oral and systemic diseases at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

    "This work is very important because it confirms a new ... risk factor that we should be able to reduce," he says in a news release. "The fact that we're finding specific [bacteria] that can cause growth and delivery problems opens up a whole new avenue for preventive care."

    Nearly one in five premature births is due to the mother's gum disease, the study suggests.

    Offenbacher this week reported the findings at a major dentistry meeting.

    Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

    Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
    what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

    Today on WebMD

    hand circling date on calendar
    Track your most fertile days.
    woman looking at ultrasound
    Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
     
    Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
    The signs to watch out for.
    pregnant woman in hospital
    Are there ways to do it naturally?
     
    slideshow fetal development
    Slideshow
    pregnancy first trimester warning signs
    Article
     
    What Causes Bipolar
    Video
    Woman trying on dress in store
    Slideshow
     
    pregnant woman
    Article
    Woman looking at pregnancy test
    Quiz
     
    calendar and baby buggy
    Tool
    dark chocolate squares
    Slideshow