Pregnant women with plaque are more likely to give birth before 37 weeks, research suggests. A study of dozens of new mothers found 45 per cent of those whose waters broke early had swollen, sore or infected gums. In comparison, only 29 per cent of the women who didn't give birth prematurely had signs of gum disease. Bacteria in plaque are thought to travel to the placenta via the bloodstream, causing it to became inflamed. This may disrupt the amniotic sac that surrounds the foetus, leading it to rupture too soon, scientists believe. The research was carried out by University Hospital Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, and led by Dr Vladimíra Radochová, from the department of dentistry and published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology. Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes the study highlights the importance of looking after our teeth during every stage of our lives.