Incredible Preemie Prevention May Be in Your Medicine Cabinet

mouthwashIn the United States, currently more than 1 million babies are born prematurely each year -- that's 12.8 percent of little ones who arrive too early and face a host of risks throughout their lives. Now there's new evidence that something you likely have in your medicine cabinet right now could prevent many of those premature births -- mouthwash.

As crazy as it sounds, it makes sense. In previous research, periodontal disease has been linked to premature delivery. What hasn't been known is if treating the disease during pregnancy could make a difference. Turns out it can. A new study found that women who regularly used an alcohol-free mouthwash cut their risk of a pre-term delivery by three-quarters. That's huge.

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Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, lead author of the study, told Fox News the difference between the two groups of pregnant women in the study -- one rinsed twice a day with mouthwash and one didn't -- was "just incredible." She explained that gum disease involves prostaglandin E2, which is also related to labor. She thinks perhaps if gum disease is causing more of it to enter a woman's body, that could cause early labor.

She did point out that if a woman doesn't have gum disease, then mouthwash likely wouldn't have an impact on early labor, but that prevention of gum disease for everyone is always a good idea.

Researchers caution this isn't a definitive link, but it's promising. It's also not one of those things pregnant women, or women who may become pregnant, need to wait for more research on before embracing. There's no harm in using mouthwash, so the worst that can happen if it's proven not to be effective in preventing preemies is that you'll just have extra minty fresh breath and clean teeth. Start gargling, ladies!

Do you use mouthwash while pregnant?


Image via colecamp/Flickr

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