Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gingivitis, which half of all pregnant women will experience. Research have suggested that women with pregnancy gingivitis may be more likely to deliver babies prematurely or with low birth weight than mothers with healthy gums.
This was a double blind, placebo-controlled study in 45 women with pregnancy gingivitis, but otherwise healthy, enrolled at the beginning of the third trimester. Participants were examined toevaluate the extent of gingivitis and plaque index, and instructed to continue with their usual brushing habits. They were randomly provided with a supply of lozenges to be consumed twice daily until birth, each containing 2×10^8 cfu of Lactobacillus reuteri Prodentis (L. reuteri ATCC PTA 5289 + DSM 17938, n=24)), or the equivalent placebo lozenges (n=21).
Within two days after birth (approximately seven weeks after enrolment), the participants were re-evaluated. Both gingival index and plaque index of the Prodentis group were significantly reduced compared to baseline, and compared to the placebo group (p<0.0001). Within the placebo group there were no significant changes versus baseline. Gingival index was categorized as 0 (no inflammation) in approximately 79% and 37% of the subjects in the probiotic and placebo group, respectively.
The conventional methods to maintain oral health during pregnancy are brushing, flossing and seeing a dentist or a dental hygienist. L. reuteri Prodentis lozenges may be a useful adjunct in the control of pregnancy gingivitis.