Dental Hygiene ETDs

Publication Date



Purpose: The purpose of this research is to determine if evidence exists between the relationship of receiving periodontal therapy during pregnancy and a subsequently-born childs gestational age and birth weight at time of delivery. Hypothesis: Pregnant mothers who received periodontal therapy during their pregnancy are less likely to have preterm low birth weight infants than those pregnant mothers who did not receive periodontal therapy during pregnancy. Methods: Data was collected for infants born to 1182 females who utilize the New Mexico Women, Infants and Children supplemental food program. These females were then cross-referenced with the Sandoval County Oral Health Program's dental software database to see which of these females received some kind of periodontal therapy during their pregnancy. The data was analyzed via a standard set of bivariate correlations using the Pearson correlation coefficient as a measure for how inter-dependent all variables in the study are on each other. Results: A review of the individual models indicates that evidence of periodontal disease has an effect of less than 0.1% on the overall model. In the regression analysis, beta coefficients suggest that only the gestational age and week that the periodontal therapy was received are statistically significant at a 90% confidence level. The results of a subsequent analysis show that there is a somewhat significant effect (R2 = 34.3%) on birth weight when the periodontal therapy was received in the 35th week of pregnancy or earlier. This suggests that some threshold level might exist where periodontal disease may have a more significant effect on the birth weight of the baby, and that this threshold could reasonably come approximately at the 35th week of gestation. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that the overall importance of periodontal therapy during pregnancy is minimal, but that a threshold level may exist during gestation where the presence of periodontal disease may have a much more significant effect on a baby's birth weight. Therefore, those mothers who receive periodontal therapy during pregnancy would be better suited to receive the treatment early in the pregnancy to decrease the chances of a preterm low birth weight baby.

Degree Name

Dental Hygiene

Level of Degree


Department Name

Dental Medicine

First Advisor

Nathe, Christine

First Committee Member (Chair)

Logothetis, Demetra

Second Committee Member

Burnham, Diana




Preterm labor, Low birth weight infant, Periodontal disease, Periodontal therapy

Document Type