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VOLUME 1 , ISSUE 1 ( January-March, 2022 ) > List of Articles


The Potential Role of Maternal Periodontitis on Preterm Birth and Adverse Neonatal Neurologic Outcomes

Gregory Charles Valentine, Sandra E Juul

Keywords : Inflammation, Neurologic impairment, Periodontitis, Preterm birth

Citation Information : Valentine GC, Juul SE. The Potential Role of Maternal Periodontitis on Preterm Birth and Adverse Neonatal Neurologic Outcomes. 2022; 1 (1):81-90.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-11002-0008

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 31-03-2022

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2022; The Author(s).


Periodontitis is an often overlooked but important risk factor for both preterm birth and adverse neonatal outcomes. With preterm birth being the leading cause of mortality for all children under the age of 5, any potentially modifiable risk factor associated with preterm birth must be fully evaluated. Periodontal disease is due to bacterial infection of the gingivae with resulting localized and systemic inflammation that can have profound effects in both nonpregnant and pregnant individuals. In pregnancy, several studies have demonstrated an association between periodontitis and preterm birth. Furthermore, extensive evidence demonstrates that fetal exposure to systemic inflammation during gestation predisposes to brain injury and neurodevelopmental delay. Thus, periodontitis and the resulting inflammatory cascade not only affect the pregnant individual but also have significant lifelong consequences on the development and well-being of future offspring. In this review, we will first discuss the epidemiology, prevalence, and pathophysiology of periodontitis. We will then explore the medical literature evaluating the association between periodontitis and preterm birth prior to delving into the potential for neurodevelopmental delay and brain injury among offspring. Finally, we will conclude by discussing future directions and unanswered questions related to periodontitis and its relationship with preterm birth and adverse neonatal outcomes.

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