Pregnant women are at an increased risk of gum disease because of hormonal changes. Untreated gum disease in pregnant women may be associated with an increased risk of preterm birth and low birth weight, but there have been concerns and lingering beliefs that the treatment for gum disease –itself – might be a risk factor for preterm or low-birth weight.

David Leader, D.M.D., M.P.H. of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, and author of a critical summary in the July 2014 issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association, is available to discuss the evidence that treating periodontal disease does not affect pregnancy outcomes and will contribute to overall good health for both the mother and infant.

Dr. Leader’s critical summary reports on a systematic review with findings that treating gum disease does not affect rates of preterm birth or low birth weight. As further evidence that pregnant women’s overall health can be improved by good gum health and to assuage the lingering concerns of dentists and patients, Dr. Leader points to the August 2013 opinion of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women, which recommended that women be counseled about the safety and necessity of oral health care during pregnancy. The treatment of gum disease during pregnancy is not associated with adverse events and, in fact, improves the oral and overall health of the women.

Dr. Leader is an associate professor in the Department of Diagnosis and Health Promotion at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston. He is also a member of the Perinatal Oral Health Task Force of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and an evidence-based reviewer for the American Dental Association.

For a copy of Dr. Leader’s critical summary, please contact Jennifer Kritz at [email protected].