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News / February 14, 2011

Mouthwash linked to lowering pre-term birth

by Guy Hiscott

A new study suggests that use of non-alcohol antibacterial mouthwash containing cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) decreases the incidence of preterm birth.

The findings were presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s (SMFM) annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in San Francisco, US.

Study author, Marjorie Jeffcoat, D.M.D, says: ‘This research demonstrated that reducing the severity of periodontal disease has a direct correlation with preterm birth.

‘Preterm birth is the major cause of peri-natal mortality and morbidity worldwide and still difficult to predict and prevent.

‘So, when we found that something as simple as mouthwash could change the outcomes, we were very excited.’

The study was funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Procter & Gamble.
It was a controlled blind clinical study of pregnant women at 6-20 weeks gestation with periodontal disease who refused dental care and did not have obstetric infections.

Treatment was assigned to blocks of four subjects based on four strata: prior preterm birth (yes or no), and smoking (yes or no).

Each block assigned three controls and one rinse subject.

Of 204 subjects, 155 served as untreated controls (exposure group), and 49 (non-exposure group) received an antimicrobial CPC non-alcohol mouthwash (Crest Pro-Health, Procter and Gamble, Cincinnati, Ohio).

The primary outcome was spontaneous preterm birth less than 35 weeks. Dental examinations were performed at baseline and prior to delivery.

Gestational age and weight at birth was recorded by abstractors.

Groups were compared using statistical test Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Dichotomous variables were compared using the chi-square test; logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios.

There was no significant difference at baseline in smoking, prior preterm birth or alcohol consumption between groups. Maternal age was higher in the rinse group than in the control group. No adverse events were observed. The incidence of preterm birth less than 35 weeks was significantly lower in the subjects using the rinse compared to the controls. Gestational age and birth weight (adjusted for maternal age) were significantly higher in the rinse group.