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A Journal on Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery


Official Journal of the Italian Society of Odontostomatology and Maxillofacial Surgery
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Minerva Stomatologica 2005 January-February;54(1-2):1-4

language: English, Italian

Periodontitis and preterm delivery. A review of the literature

Pizzo G., La Cara M. , Conti Nibali M., Guiglia R.


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The aim of this paper was to review the relationship between periodontitis and preterm delivery (PTD). Original papers on this subject, published in English until the first quarter of 2004, were located in the MEDLINE/PubMed database. Additional papers were obtained by searching reference lists of previously published review papers. Case control studies pointed to an association between periodontitis and increased rates of PTD of low birth-weight (LBW) infants. Longitudinal studies showed that the incidence or progression of periodontitis during pregnancy may be an independent risk factor for PTD and LBW. Microbiological, immunological and animal model studies suggested that periodontal pathogens and their products may translocate to the fetal-placental unit resulting in PTD or fetal growth restriction. Maternal periodontal infection may also provide a chronic reservoir of inflammatory mediators and cytokines (TNF-alfa, IL-1, IL-6, PGE2) that could adversely affect pregnancy outcome. Randomized controlled studies published indicated that periodontal treatment significantly reduces the risk of PTD and LBW infants. If these results are confirmed in further intervention studies, then prevention and treatment of periodontitis should be considered as a necessary part of prenatal care.

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