Dental caries and preterm birth: a systematic review and meta-analysis

BMJ Open. 2018 Mar 2;8(3):e018556. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018556.


Objectives: The primary objective of this systematic review was to evaluate the association between dental caries and preterm birth (PTB). The secondary objective was ascertaining the difference between women with dental caries who experienced PTB and those who did not with regard to decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT), and decayed, missing and filled surfaces (DMFS) indices.

Methods: MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL and Cochrane databases were searched initially in November 2015 and repeated in December 2016. We included observational cohort and case-control studies. Only studies reporting the risk of PTB in women affected compared with those not affected by dental caries in pregnancy were included. Random-effect meta-analyses were used to compute the summary OR of PTB among women with caries versus women without caries, and the mean difference in either DMFT or DMFS indices between women experiencing PTB and those without PTB.

Results: Nine observational studies (4826 pregnancies) were included. Women affected by dental caries during pregnancy did not show a significantly higher risk of PTB (OR: 1.16, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.49, P=0.25, I2=35%). Also, the women with PTB did not show significantly higher DMFT or DMFS indices (summary mean differences: 1.56, P=0.10; I2=92% and -0.15, P=0.9, I2=89%, respectively).

Conclusion: Dental caries does not appear to be a substantial risk factor for PTB.

Trial registration number: NCT01675180; Pre-results.

Keywords: dental caries; pregnancy; pregnant woman; preterm birth; risk.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Dental Caries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Premature Birth*
  • Tooth Loss
  • Tooth*

Associated data