Objective: The goal was to estimate whether maternal periodontal disease was predictive of preterm (less than 37 weeks) or very preterm (less than 32 weeks) births.
Methods: A prospective study of obstetric outcomes, entitled Oral Conditions and Pregnancy (OCAP), was conducted with 1,020 pregnant women who received both an antepartum and postpartum periodontal examination. Predictive models were developed to estimate whether maternal exposure to either periodontal disease at enrollment (less than 26 weeks) and/or periodontal disease progression during pregnancy, as determined by comparing postpartum with antepartum status, were predictive of preterm or very preterm births, adjusting for risk factors including previous preterm delivery, race, smoking, social domain variables, and other infections.
Results: Incidence of preterm birth was 11.2% among periodontally healthy women, compared with 28.6% in women with moderate-severe periodontal disease (adjusted risk ratio [RR] 1.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1-2.3). Antepartum moderate-severe periodontal disease was associated with an increased incidence of spontaneous preterm births (15.2% versus 24.9%, adjusted RR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.2). Similarly, the unadjusted rate of very preterm delivery was 6.4% among women with periodontal disease progression, significantly higher than the 1.8% rate among women without disease progression (adjusted RR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1-5.2).
Conclusion: The OCAP study demonstrates that maternal periodontal disease increases relative risk for preterm or spontaneous preterm births. Furthermore, periodontal disease progression during pregnancy was a predictor of the more severe adverse pregnancy outcome of very preterm birth, independently of traditional obstetric, periodontal, and social domain risk factors.
Level of evidence: II-2.