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Should We Treat Periodontal Disease During Gestation to Improve Pregnancy Outcomes?

FERGUSON, JAMES E. II MD*; HANSEN, WENDY F. MD*; NOVAK, KAREN F. DDS, PhD; JOHN NOVAK, M. BDS, LDS, PhD

Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: June 2007 - Volume 50 - Issue 2 - p 454-467
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e31804c9f05
Current Controversies in Obstetrics: What Is an Obstetrician to Do?

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).

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.