Periodontal disease can damage your teeth and gums, but did you know it can also lead to preterm birth? Keep reading as we discuss gum disease and the risks of premature birth.

Premature baby

Newborn baby in the incubator

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease (periodontitis) is an infection of the gums. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. [1]

According to the CDC, 60 – 75% of pregnant women suffer from gum disease. [2]

Causes of Gum Disease

Untreated plaque buildup is the primary cause of gum disease. Other contributors to this oral health condition include: [3]

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Hormonal changes
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Certain diseases
  • Specific medications
  • Family history
Watch on YouTube: “Causes”
Causes & Warning Signs of Gum Disease

Symptoms of Gum Disease

  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Pain while eating
  • Red and swollen gums

Source: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research [4]

Gum Disease and the Risk of Premature Birth

In pregnant women with gum disease, there are likely chances of preterm birth and low-birth-weight babies.

Watch on YouTube: “Pregnancy Tips: Why is it important to take care of your teeth”
Video Courtesy: ERemedium

👉 Plaque bacteria which causes gum disease, can lead to preterm birth.

👉 The bacteria release endotoxins that can travel through the mother’s bloodstream.

👉 These endotoxins produce substances known as cytokines and prostaglandins.

👉 High concentrations of these can cause the baby’s sac to rupture, leading to preterm birth. [5]

Signs of Preterm Labor

Common symptoms of preterm labor include: [6 ]

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Backache
  3. Cramps and contractions
  4. Fluid coming from the vagina
  5. Pressure in the lower abdomen
  6. A change in the vaginal discharge
Research shows that 45% of the women in early labor had gum disease. [7]

How to Prevent Preterm Labor From Gum Disease?

By knowing about gum disease and the risk of premature birth, you can take action to prevent it.

The best ways to prevent periodontal disease and change your pregnancy outcomes are: [8]

✅ Quit smoking

✅ Reduce stress

✅ Brush and floss daily

✅ Visit a dentist regularly

Avoid Preterm Birth With Good Dental Hygiene

Now that you know about gum disease and the risk of premature birth, you can take action to prevent it.

Practice good oral hygiene and treat periodontal disease early.

We can help you receive the highest quality treatments from board-certified dentists at affordable prices.


Gum disease is a possible risk factor for preterm labor, which is dangerous for your baby.

Babies born early may have lower weight, difficulty breathing, staying warm, and fighting infections. [9]

They may also suffer from long-term mental and physical disabilities.

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