Periodontal disease treatment and risk of preterm birth: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Cad Saude Publica. 2012 Oct;28(10):1823-33. doi: 10.1590/s0102-311x2012001000002.


The events leading to preterm birth are still not completely understood. A quantitative systematic review was performed to estimate the effects of periodontal care during pregnancy on preventing preterm birth and low birth weight. The meta-analysis included randomized trials with pregnant women with a diagnosis of periodontal disease before 20 weeks of gestation. Relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) was calculated. We evaluated the reduction in preterm and low birth weight. Thirteen trials were included, comparing 3,576 women in intervention groups with 3,412 women receiving usual care. The meta-analysis of the effects of periodontal disease treatment during pregnancy indicated a non-significant reduction in preterm births (RR = 0.90; 95%CI: 0.68-1.19) and low birth weights (RR = 0.92; 95%CI: 0.71-1.20). The creation and examination of a funnel plot revealed clear evidence of publication bias. In summary, primary periodontal care during pregnancy cannot be considered an efficient way of reducing the incidence of preterm birth.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Periodontal Diseases / complications
  • Periodontal Diseases / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Premature Birth / etiology
  • Premature Birth / prevention & control*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic