Periodontal disease, tobacco and preterm delivery.

Marta Resende, Elisabete Pinto, Miguel Pinto, Nuno Montenegro


Preterm delivery is associated with high mortality and morbility perinatal, being the costs dispended by the family and the National Health System with preterm newborns extremely high. However, it has been difficult to reduce its incidence due to the various factors involved. There is scientific evidence which support the relationship between periodontal disease and preterm delivery. There is also evidence of tobacco as a risk factor for periodontal disease, even though the relationship with preterm delivery is not yet clear. The aims of our study were to evaluate, in women in a post-partum period, dental and periodontal status as well as the exposure to tobacco and to establish the relationship between these two factors with preterm delivery. We performed a case control study with 237 parturient women from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Hospital S. João, E.P.E., during the first 48 hours after birth. A total of 86 gave birth at a gestational age under 37 weeks (case group ) and 151 gave birth to term newborns with birthweight equal or superior 2500 g (control group). The prevalence of some indicators of periodontal disease in the studied population was extremely high, namely gingival inflammation and gingival recession, and more of 30% had values of probing depth equal or higher than 4 mm significantly. Based on these periodontal indicators, only the presence of recession in more than two teeth seems to increase the risk of preterm delivery in fivefold (OR = 5,28; IC95%: 1,63-17,04). There is a statistically significant association between probing depth equal or higher than 4mm and smoking during pregnancy. This association might be relevant because 20% of preterm newborns mothers smoked during pregnancy and the proportion that stopped smoking during pregnancy in this group of mothers was almost half of the number of the control group. Therefore it is necessary to embody the information about this thematic in the health education, not only in pregnant women but in the general population, alerting for the smoking influence in periodontal disease, in pregnant women and in newborns. Interventions to help pregnant women to stop smoking should be included, not only in prenatal care guidelines used in hospitals, but also by dental medicine providers.

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