Objective: Pre-eclampsia is a complication of pregnancy characterized by systemic vascular dysfunction and pathological changes in placental arteries. Growing evidence of chronic infection as an aetiological factor in vascular diseases prompted us to study maternal periodontal disease in subjects with early-onset pre-eclampsia (<34 weeks).
Methods: A case-control study was carried out on 17 early-onset pre-eclamptic women and 35 controls with uncomplicated pregnancies in a period of 3-28 months postpartum. All were Caucasians. Full-mouth periodontal examinations were performed to determine the periodontal condition. Subgingival-plaque samples were analysed by anaerobic culture techniques for the presence of seven bacterial periodontal pathogens. Potential confounders as age, smoking, educational level and body mass index were determined.
Results: Severe periodontal disease was found in 82% of the pre-eclamptic and in 37% of the control group (p=0.009). After adjusting for age, smoking and educational level, the odds ratio was 7.9 (95% CI: 1.9-32.8). The periodontopathic microorganism Micromonas micros was more prevalent in the case group (p=0.040) while Campylobacter rectus was more prevalent in the control group (p=0.047).
Conclusion: These results indicate that Caucasian women with a recent history of early-onset pre-eclampsia have a worse periodontal condition, as compared with women with uncomplicated deliveries.