Objective: The objective of the study was to determine whether periodontal disease is associated with delivery of a small-for-gestational-age infant.
Study design: In a prospective study of oral health, periodontal disease was categorized as health, mild, or moderate/severe on the basis of clinical criteria. Small for gestational age was defined as birth weight less than the 10th percentile for gestational age. A risk ratio (95th percentile confidence interval) for a small-for-gestational-age infant among women with moderate or severe periodontal disease was calculated.
Results: Sixty-seven of 1017 women (6.6%) delivered a small-for-gestational-age infant, and 143 (14.3%) had moderate or severe periodontal disease. The small-for-gestational-age rate was higher among women with moderate or severe periodontal disease, compared with those with health or mild disease (13.8% versus 3.2% versus 6.5%, P < .001). Moderate or severe periodontal disease was associated with a small-for-gestational-age infant, a risk ratio of 2.3 (1.1 to 4.7), adjusted for age, smoking, drugs, marital and insurance status, and pre-eclampsia.
Conclusion: Moderate or severe periodontal disease early in pregnancy is associated with delivery of a small-for-gestational-age infant. Understanding the mechanism of periodontal disease-associated adverse pregnancy outcomes could lead to interventions to improve fetal growth.