Periodontal medicine: emerging concepts in pregnancy outcomes.
The term periodontal medicine encompasses the study of the contribution of periodontal infections on several systemic conditions such as atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, diabetes, and premature delivery. The early reports of a linkage between periodontitis and systemic conditions are gaining further support from additional epidemiological studies. The evidence continues to suggest that maternal periodontitis may bean important risk factor or risk indicator for pregnancies culminating in preterm low birth-weight deliveries. Potential mechanisms by which infectious challenge of periodontal origin and systemic inflammation may serve as a potential modifier of parturition are discussed. Furthermore, preliminary data are presented, supporting a hypothetical model in which periodontal pathogens disseminate systemically within the mother and gain access to the foetal compartment. Several aspects of this hypothetical model remain to be elucidated. Only the clarification of the mechanisms of pathogenesis of both periodontitis and premature deliveries will ultimately allow for accurate diagnoses and successful therapies. The concept of diagnosing and treating a periodontal patient to minimise the deleterious effects of this chronic infectious and inflammatory condition on systemic conditions represents both an unprecedented challenge and opportunity to our profession.
Champagne, CM; Madianos, PN; Lieff, S; Murtha, AP; Beck, JD; Offenbacher, S
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