Moms-to-be listen up. A new preliminary study suggests there may be a link between gum disease and preterm births. The study presented in June at the European Federation of Periodontology compared women whose babies were born before 37 weeks, considered preterm, and those who had full-term births. Gum disease, also called periodontitis, is triggered by a microbial infection. Think of gums that are red, bleeding and sometimes swollen. If left untreated, gum disease can cause gaps around the teeth, and eventually tooth loss. Researchers discovered birth weight was significantly lower for mothers who were suffering from periodontitis compared to mothers with good oral health. More research is needed, but this is just another reason why we always screen for periodontal or gum disease at every single visit at Stewart Family Dentistry.