Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

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

Woman smiling as she reads pregnancy test
Slideshow
pregnant woman with salad
Quiz
 
pregnancy am i pregnant
Article
calendar and baby buggy
Tool
 

slideshow fetal development
Slideshow
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
Article
 
What Causes Bipolar
Video
Woman trying on dress in store
Slideshow
 

pregnant woman
Article
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
Video
 
healthtool pregnancy calendar
Tool
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
Video