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School of Dentistry


Dental Practice & Rural Health


Appalachia West Virginia has a higher prevalence of preterm and low birthweight babies than the US national prevalence. Many factors have been studied which are known to influence preterm births and low birthweight babies. There are limited interventions that are available to decrease the likelihood of preterm and low birthweight babies; however oral health and personal oral infection control may be helpful. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association of limited personal oral infection control among pregnant West Virginia Appalachian women and poor birth outcomes (preterm and low birthweight babies). Methods. A secondary data analysis of data from the West Virginia Healthy Start Helping Appalachian Parents and Infants (HAPI) Project from 2005 to 2016 was conducted. The researchers determined the odds ratio of personal oral infection control with a powered toothbrush (use of the brush fewer than 13 times per week versus use of the brush 13 or more times per week) on poor birth outcomes. Results. There were 845 women who completed the oral health program within the HAPI project. In unadjusted logistic regression, women who used the powered toothbrush and brushed less frequently had greater odds of poor birth outcomes than women who brushed more frequently (odds ratio of 2.07 [1.18, 3.62] P = 0.011 for low birthweight babies; and an odds ratio of 1.78 [1.04, 3.02] P = 0.034 for preterm birth). The results remained positive but were no longer significant in adjusted analysis. Conclusion. There is a need to identify interventions that will benefit pregnant women so that their pregnancies result in healthy pregnancy outcomes.

Source Citation

Wiener RC, Waters C. Personal Oral Infection Control, Low Birthweight, and Preterm Births in Appalachia West Virginia: A Cross-Sectional Study. Adv Prev Med. 2018 Aug 7;2018:9618507. doi: 10.1155/2018/9618507

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