Significant evidence supports an association between periodontal pathogenic bacteria and preterm birth and preeclampsia. The virulence properties assigned to specific oral pathogenic bacteria, for example, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Filifactor alocis, Campylobacter rectus, and others, render them as potential collaborators in adverse outcomes of pregnancy. Several pathways have been suggested for this association: 1) hematogenous spread (bacteremia) of periodontal pathogens; 2) hematogenous spread of multiple mediators of inflammation that are generated by the host and/or fetal immune response to pathogenic bacteria; and 3) the possibility of oral microbial pathogen transmission, with subsequent colonization, in the vaginal microbiome resulting from sexual practices. As periodontal disease is, for the most part, preventable, the medical and dental public health communities can address intervention strategies to control oral inflammatory disease, lessen the systemic inflammatory burden, and ultimately reduce the potential for adverse pregnancy outcomes. This article reviews the oral, vaginal, and placental microbiomes, considers their potential impact on preterm labor, and the future research needed to confirm or refute this relationship.
Recommended CitationCobb, Charles M.; Kelly, Patricia J.; Williams, Karen B.; Babbar, Shilpa; Angolkar, Mubashir; and Derman, Richard J., "The oral microbiome and adverse pregnancy outcomes." (2017). Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Faculty Papers. Paper 45.
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