Visiting The Hygienist Can Reduce Premature Birth Risk By A Third

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New research has suggested that visiting a dental hygienist can reduce the risk of premature birth by up to a third.

Previous studies have revealed a link between poor oral health and premature birth risk; however, the link between the two has been unclear. Doctors have established that severe gum infections increased the production of prostaglandin, a chemical that triggers labour. In the UK, more than 54,000 babies are born prematurely each year.

The new research study, which has been published in the Journal of Periodontology, revealed that visiting a dental hygienist or a dentist reduced the risk of pre-term birth, defined as before 37 weeks, by up to 34 per cent in expectant mothers who had gum disease.

The research team, from Harvard University School of Dental Medicine, found that pregnant women with gum disease benefited greatly from having a scale and polish treatment.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said that the study enforced the message that it is very important for pregnant women to attend regular dental visits.

Dr Carter said that the recent study adds to an extensive array of research projects, which suggest that oral health is extremely important during pregnancy. Dr Carter urged pregnant women to keep an eye on their oral health and to visit their dentist or hygienist for regular check-ups and cleaning treatments.

In the UK, pregnant women are entitled to free dental care on the NHS during their pregnancy and for one year after the birth of their child.


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