Until recently many physicians in the United States including obstetrician gynecologists have been relatively unconcerned with oral health. During most physical examinations, the oral cavity is given only a rudimentary examination. With the recognition of the oral-systemic health care link, physicians have been keenly interested in the findings from their dental colleagues in periodontal medicine which have convincingly linked periodontal disease with such diverse systemic health complications as aging, Alzheimer disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and also pregnancy complications including low birth weight, preterm delivery, preeclampsia, and early pregnancy loss. Intervention trials designed to improve oral health during pregnancy have proven to be safe; however, the outcomes have been inconsistent. Further studies will be required to determine the nature of the association and the optimal timing and efficacy of intervention.
*Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine
†Center for Oral Health Research, College of Dentistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
Correspondence: James E. Ferguson II, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Rm C375, 800 Rose St, Lexington KY 40536. E-mail: James.Ferguson@uky.edu
Funding provided in part by National Institutes of Health (Badas, OPT).