The Dentist Magazine.

EFP launches a European awareness campaign on oral health and pregnancy

Published: 25/10/2017

The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) has launched a campaign to highlight the importance of oral health for pregnant women and for its possible impact on delivery. Scientific reports, practical guidelines, infographics and other materials have been made freely available for dental practices, gynaecologists, midwives, physicians, pharmacists, health organisations, and the general public.  A special website - oralhealthandpregnancy.efp.org - has also been created to help all 30 EFP-affiliated national societies of periodontology to raise awareness of pregnancy gingivitis and its implications among dentistry professionals, other health professionals, and women.

Pregnant women experience hormonal changes that often trigger alterations of their oral health such as pregnancy gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease which is linked to an increased risk of various pregnancy complications, including low birth weight, preterm birth, and pre-eclampsia. With the aims of helping tackle the widespread problem of pregnancy gingivitis and of highlighting the importance of oral health during pregnancy, the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) - in collaboration with Oral-B - is launching the ‘Oral Health and Pregnancy’ project, a Europe-wide awareness campaign which brings advice based on the latest scientific evidence to health professionals and women across Europe.

The core element of the Oral Health and Pregnancy initiative is a newly-created dedicated web portal, oralhealthandpregnancy.efp.org, which contains a wealth of information: scientific reports, guidelines for oral- and general-health professionals, brochures, practical recommendations for women, a bibliography, infographics, videos, news items, features, and other educational content. All this material - drawn up by some of the world’s leading experts in periodontal science - is publicly accessible and can be downloaded from the website.

Made available to everybody for free

All those materials are being shared with all 30 EFP-affiliated national societies of periodontology in Europe, Northern Africa, Middle East, and Caucasia, and its around 14,000 periodontists and oral healthcare professionals interested in gum health, all of who can freely take advantage of this content in their dental practices, schools, laboratories, and companies. But the Oral Health and Pregnancy campaign is aimed not only at dentists and hygienists, but also at other health professionals including gynaecologists, obstetricians, midwives, family doctors, and pharmacists. The other major audience of this initiative are women who are pregnant or planning to become so. Finally, institutions, universities, and health organisations are also invited to disseminate this knowledge.

From a scientific point of view, the main contribution of the website, oralhealthandpregnancy.efp.org, is the publication of four fully-referenced scientific papers specially written for this initiative. These reports cover the importance of women’s oral health during pregnancy, the biological mechanisms between gum disease and pregnancy (both a narrative review of studies and a systematic review and meta-analysis), and the importance of treating periodontal disease during pregnancy.

Professor Mariano Sanz, professor and chair of periodontology at the University Complutense of Madrid, Spain said, “Women’s oral health during pregnancy is extremely important, not only for its possible

impact on delivery – and thus the possibility of preventing complications – but also for the short- and long-term oral health of pregnant women themselves”. Professor Sanz co-ordinated the Oral Health and Pregnancy project for the EFP.

Anja Rist, professional and scientific relations manager for oral care in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Procter and Gamble, owner of the Oral-B brand, said, “This is the key message we would like to give both to health professionals and to women themselves. Oral health matters – especially during pregnancy.

“By raising awareness about oral health risks during pregnancy and offering simple solutions, we hope to encourage more women to seek professional dental care and to improve their at-home oral health care while expecting.”

The EFP - the global perio benchmark in periodontology

The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP, www.efp.org) comprises 30 national scientific societies, representing around 14,000 specialist dentists, researchers, and other members of the dental team focused on improving periodontal science and practise in Europe and around the world. The EFP president is Gernot Wimmer, Austria and the secretary-general is Iain Chapple, United Kingdom.

The EFP is the leading global voice on gum health and gum disease and the driving force behind EuroPerio, the world’s main periodontal congress, and Perio Workshop, a world leading meeting on periodontal science. Furthermore, the EFP edits the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, one of the most authoritative scientific publications in this field.