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Study Shows Xylitol Reduces Preterm Births

Chewing xylitol can reduce maternal periodontal disease
Read Time: 3 minutes
May 23, 2022

Studies have found that chewing xylitol while pregnant can help to reduce the likelihood of a preterm birth. This is because premature births have been linked with periodontal disease in mothers. Chewing xylitol can help to reduce periodontal disease, thereby also reducing the risk of a preterm birth.

How Does Xylitol Reduce Preterm Births?

xylitol gum tablets on a blue background

Xylitol works to reduce the risk of a preterm birth by improving maternal oral health. Oral health is so important because it has a an impact on the body’s overall health, which is even more important while pregnant. Preterm births have been linked to maternal periodontal disease, which xylitol helps to reduce, thereby also reducing the risk of preterm births.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is another name for gum disease. Someone with periodontal disease could end up with damage to the soft tissue of the gums as well as to the teeth. Periodontal disease can damage the bone supporting the teeth, which could ultimately result in the loss of the teeth.

How Was the Study Done?

The study was jointly researched in both Houston, Texas and Lilongwe, Malawi. The research teams examined 9,670 pregnant women from across Malawi. Malawi was chosen for the study because it has the highest rate (18.1%) of premature births known in the world. The women participating in the study were at eight different pregnancy centers and at all four, oral health education and prenatal health education were provided. However, xylitol was offered daily in addition to the education at four of the centers.

How Likely Is Premature Birth with Xylitol?

The researchers found that chewing xylitol daily had reduced the likelihood of a premature birth. With xylitol, the risk of premature birth was 12.6% while without it was 16.5%.

When During Pregnancy Should You Chew Xylitol?

The researchers found that daily xylitol needed to be administered prior to 20 weeks of pregnancy. This helped to reduce the risk of a premature birth. In particular, the premature births that xylitol helped to reduce the risk of were between 34 and 37 weeks.

Why Are Preterm Births Dangerous?

Premature births can be dangerous because preterm babies are more at risk of contracting health problems that could impact them for the rest of their lives. They’re also more at risk of dying. Reducing premature births can also help to reduce health care costs.

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