Did you think that mouthwash was just for your oral health? A new study conducted suggests that rinsing with mouthwash while pregnant (for mothers that have gum disease) have more of a chance of carrying a baby to full term. This study was published by Reuters Health and states a fact that we often discuss: pregnant women with periodontal disease tend to have more premature babies than women with healthy gums. Why? We’re still not sure (even after this study) however, it is known that rinsing regularly with an alcohol-free mouthwash (like any of TheraBreath’s Oral Rinses) may cut a woman’s risk of delivering early by almost 75%! Isn’t it worth trying?
The research term in this study asked 71 pregnant women with gum disease to gargle twice daily with an alcohol-free mouthwash. The team then compared the number of preemies with a group of 155 pregnant women who also had gum disease that only gargled with water. For the water only group, one in five (34 moms total) gave birth early – meaning before 35 weeks of pregnancy. Of the 71 others that rinsed with mouthwash, only 4 moms gave birth early (about one in five).
Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat was the lead author of this study and is also a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. She remarked that the difference between these two groups “was just incredible”. She did note that the women in this study did know whether or not they were rinsing with mouthwash or water, so this may have had an impact on the study. Dr. Jeffcoat’s team was unable to target exactly why using mouthwash for these gum-diseased moms was effective, but did suggest that it is the gum disease itself. When an expectant mom has gum disease, the inflammation involves prostaglandin E2 – a hormone-like substance that is also involved with labor. Jeffcoat’s hypothesis is that when gum disease is present, there is more E2 in the mom’s bloodstream which may lead to an early labor. She also did point out that treating gum disease when pregnant will decrease the amount of E2.
This study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and did find that mouthwash did help treat the gum disease in these moms. For the mom’s that gargled with water, their gum disease did continue. A different study in April also suggests that a thorough teeth cleaning is safe and effective for pregnant women. Would it help pre-term labor? Results are inconclusive.
Mouthwash is clearly a safer, less evasive way to go. Dr. Jeffcoat did state, “Obviously if you don’t have periodontal disease this is not going to help” reduce your risk of premature labor. Prevention is the safest bet. Expectant moms (actually, everyone) should be sure to brush, floss and rinse at least twice a day and visit a dentist regularly. Make sure to use a mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol for you’re the health of your mouth.