Objective: Periodontal disease may increase the risk of adverse birth outcomes; however, results have been mixed. Few studies have examined periodontal disease in developing countries. We describe the relationship between periodontal disease and birth outcomes in a community setting in Pakistan.
Study design: This was a prospective cohort study. Enrollment occurred at 20-26 weeks of gestation. A study dentist performed the periodontal examination to assess probing depth, clinical attachment level, gingival index, and plaque index. Outcomes included stillbirth, neonatal death, perinatal death, < 32 weeks preterm birth, 32-36 weeks preterm birth, and low birthweight and are presented for increasing periodontal disease severity by quartiles.
Results: Dental examinations and outcome data were completed for 1152 women: 81% of the women were multiparous, with a mean age of 27 years; 33% of the women had no education. Forty-seven percent of the women had dental caries; 27% of the women had missing teeth, and 91% of the women had had no dental care in the last year. Periodontal disease was common: 76% of the women had > or = 3 teeth with a probing depth of > or = 3 mm; 87% of the women had > or = 4 teeth with a clinical attachment level of > or = 3 mm; 56% of the women had > or = 4 teeth with a plaque index of 3; and 60% of the women had > or = 4 teeth with a gingival index of 3. As the measures of periodontal disease increased from the 1st to 4th quartile, stillbirth and neonatal and perinatal death also increased, with relative risks of approximately 1.3. Early preterm birth increased, but the results were not significant. Late preterm birth and low birthweight were not related to measures of periodontal disease.
Conclusion: Pregnant Pakistani women have high levels of moderate-to-severe dental disease. Stillbirth and neonatal and perinatal deaths increased with the severity of periodontal disease.