Oral bacteria get into the uterus
In the presence of untreated periodontitis, the bacteria and their metabolites spread through the bloodstream to the uterus. Here they are able to penetrate the fetoplacental unit. On the one hand, this infection can, through the activity of bacterial collagenases, lead to premature rupture of the amniotic sac. On the other hand, the bacteria trigger a systemic and local immune response that leads to increased formation of interleukin-1B, TNF-α and prostaglandin E2. These mediators not only have an inflammatory function, but they also play a part in the maintenance of pregnancy, the onset of labor and the birth process. The inflammatory mediators circulating freely in the blood in the presence of full-blown periodontitis are themselves able to trigger contractions of the uterine muscles and thus cause premature delivery.