The effects of periodontal treatment on pregnancy outcomes

Bryan S Michalowicz, Anders Gustafsson, Vivek Thumbigere-Math

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background Preterm infants are at greater risk than term infants for physical and developmental disorders. Morbidity and mortality increases as gestational age at delivery decreases. Observational studies indicate an association between poor periodontal health and risk for preterm birth or low birthweight, making periodontitis a potentially modifiable risk factor for prematurity. Aim To identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published between January 2011 and July 2012 and discuss all published RCTs testing whether periodontal therapy reduces rates of preterm birth and low birthweight. Methods Search of databases including PubMed, ISI Web of Science and Cochrane Library. Results The single RCT identified showed no significant effect of periodontal treatment on birth outcomes. Discussion All published trials included non-surgical periodontal therapy; only two included systemic antimicrobials as part of test therapy. The trials varied substantially in terms of sample size, obstetric histories of subjects, study preterm birth rates and the periodontal treatment response. The largest trials - also judged to be high-quality and at low risk of bias - have yielded consistent results, and indicate that treatment does not alter rates of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Conclusion Non-surgical periodontal therapy, scaling and root planing, does not improve birth outcomes in pregnant women with periodontitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S195-S208
JournalJournal of clinical periodontology
Issue numberSUPPL. 14
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • low birthweight
  • periodontitis
  • preterm birth
  • randomized controlled trials
  • therapy


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of periodontal treatment on pregnancy outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this