Periodontal infections and pre-term birth: Early findings from a cohort of young minority women in New York

Dennis Mitchell-Lewis, Steven P. Engebretson, Judy Chen, Ira B. Lamster, Panos N. Papapanou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this report is to provide early data from an ongoing study examining (i) the relationship between periodontal infections and pre-term low birth weight (PLBW) in a cohort of young, minority, pregnant and post-partum women; and (ii) the effect of periodontal interventions on pregnancy outcome. During the first 2 yr of the study, 213 women were enrolled and examined clinically for dental plaque, calculus, bleeding on probing, and probing depth. Birth outcome data were available for 164 women, including one group (n = 74) subjected to oral prophylaxis during pregnancy, and a second group (n = 90) who received no prenatal periodontal treatment. Subgingival plaque samples were available from 145 subjects (4 samples/subject) and were analyzed by checkerboard DNA hybridization with respect to 12 bacterial species. The prevalence of PLBW was 16.5% (27 cases) in this cohort. No differences in clinical periodontal status were observed between PLBW cases and women with normal birth outcome. However, PLBW mothers had significantly higher levels of Bacteroides forsythus and Campylobacter rectus, and consistently elevated counts for the other species examined. PLBW occurred in 18.9% of the women who did not receive periodontal intervention (17 cases), and in 13.5% (10 cases) of those who received such therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-39
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Oral Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2001


  • Bacteria
  • DNA probes
  • Low birth weight
  • Periodontitis
  • Pre-term birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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