Research: How a dysbiotic oral microbiome is linked to complications during pregnancy

Toni Harman
3 min readMay 20, 2022

Quick Summary: A recent review paper suggests good oral hygiene is really important during pregnancy, or earlier still, from pre-conception. This could help prevent the inflammatory response during pregnancy.

Fascinating review paper highlights the importance of really good oral hygiene especially during pregnancy and even earlier, pre-conception. This could help prevent the inflammatory response during pregnancy.

The paper by Saadaoui M et al. (2021) discusses the relationship between a dysbiotic oral microbiome and complications during pregnancy.

The review finds that a growing body of evidence supports the link between the oral microbiome and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth, preeclampsia, low birth weight among others.

The oral microbiome describes the microorganisms in the oral cavity covering: the lips, hard and soft palate (the boney and muscular portion of the roof of your mouth), the area behind the wisdom teeth, the tongue, gums, immer lining of the cheeks and lips and the floor of the mouth under the tongue.

Here are some of the highlights from the paper:

  • After the gut, the oral cavily contains the second most complex microbial population within the human body.
  • Over 700 bacterial organisms live in the oral cavity
  • The total “viable microbial counts” is higher in pregnant people than non-pregnant, especially in the first trimester.
  • The oral microbiome changes throughout a lifetime, but now there is evidence that there are specific changes during pregnancy. Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, and Escherichia coli are changed during the stage of pregnancy.
  • Perturbations in the composition of the oral microbiome can contribute to pregnancy complications.
  • Physiological changes and differences in hormonal levels during pregnancy can increase susceptibility to various oral diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
  • The review finds that a growing body of evidence supports the link between the oral microbiome and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth…

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Toni Harman

I help parents and health professionals better understand the science of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and the microbiome. https://linktr.ee/toniharman