Thursday, July 28, 2011

Study: Rinsing with Non-Alcohol Mouth Rinse Cuts Women's Risk of Early Labor

An interesting study, but it really needs some follow up, especially with one not funded by the mouth rinse manuafacturer.
Expectant mothers who have gum disease are less likely to deliver their babies prematurely if they use mouthwash throughout their pregnancy, a new study suggests.

Pregnant women with gum disease, also called periodontal disease, are known to have more preemies than women with healthy gums.

But it's unclear whether that link is causal, and so whether better oral hygiene would make a difference.

The new study, although not ironclad proof, found that regularly using an alcohol-free mouth rinse appeared to cut women's risk of early labor by about three-quarters.

"I think this is extremely encouraging," said Dr. Steven Offenbacher, a professor at the University of North Carolina's School of Dentistry, who was not involved in this study.

"We haven't known the best way to manage these patients."

The research team, which included staff and funding from Procter and Gamble, the company that markets the mouthwash used in the study, asked 71 pregnant women with gum disease to rinse twice a day for 30 seconds with Crest Pro Health mouthwash. The mouthwash does not contain alcohol.

They compared the number of pre-term births among this group to 155 pregnant women who also had gum disease, but rinsed only with water.

Among the water-only group, 34 mothers -- or about one in five -- delivered their babies prematurely, before 35 weeks of pregnancy.

In the mouthwash group, just four mothers delivered their babies prematurely, which is about one in 20 births.

The difference between the groups "was just incredible," said Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, the lead author of the study and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.

But she pointed out that the women knew which treatment they were getting -- water or mouthwash -- which in principle might have influenced the results.

Jeffcoat's team did not identify why the mouthwash was linked to fewer premature babies, but gum disease might play a role.
I see some problems with this study, inclduing controlling for the patient's knowing with what they are rinsing. But, if expectant mothers can purchase a relatively inexpensive mouth rinse and deliver healthier babies, I say go for it.

Of course, visiting your dentist regularly and maintaining proper periodontal health is best - but certainly more expensive. And, if you do not have periodontal disease in the first place, it really won't help.

The study is here.

No comments:

Post a Comment