Fun Fact: Regular Mouthwashing May Prevent Early Labor For Those With Gum Disease

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It sounds like an old wives’ tale, but there is actually some compelling science behind this one. Reuters has reported on a study that found that mothers-to-be who regularly use mouthwash are less likely to deliver prematurely.

Reuters reports that women who have gum disease are more likely to give birth to preemies, specifically because they don’t use mouthwash. The study’s findings are not considered entirely solid, but women who use an alcohol-free rinse were three-quarters less likely to go into early labor. The science is quite fascinating:

Gum disease starts when bacteria on the teeth infect the gums and cause swelling, and pregnancy can exacerbate the condition.

Inflammation in gum disease involves the hormone-like substance prostaglandin E2, Jeffcoat explained. This same chemical is involved in labor.

Her hypothesis is that gum disease leads to inflammation and more prostaglandin E2 circulating through the body, which might then spark an early labor. On the flip side, by treating the gum disease, women can cut their prostaglandin E2 levels and reduce their risk of going into labor early, [Dr. Marjorie] Jeffcoat believes.

Obviously, if you don’t have gum disease, mouthwash won’t impact your risk of pre-term labor. But for those expectant mothers who have definitely been diagnosed, best to stock up on those little green bottles.