Women who have gum disease are more than twice as likely as other women to give birth to a premature baby, according to a study of more than 2000 women presented at the 2001 annual meeting of the American Association for Dental Research. Is gum disease the cause of the preterm labor? Or is it that women who are more likely to have pre-term labor are also more likely to have poor oral health? In this study, they subtracted the effects of smoking, race, maternal age, previous pre-term labor, and other infections. The gum disease connection was still dramatic. Regular teeth cleaning and dental check-ups are more important than you might think.