BACKGROUND Despite a huge body of published research, understanding the basic pathology that leads to pre-eclampsia is still incomplete. This study was conducted among women in north Jordan to determine factors associated with pre-eclampsia and to determine if dental caries was involved. METHODS A case-control study was carried out among women who delivered at Princess Badea Teaching Hospital, Irbid, North Jordan, between September 1, 2004 and January 1, 2005. 115 women with pre-eclampsia and 230 normotensive controls were included in the study. Information regarding participants' demographics, antenatal history and family history were collected through personal interviews. Several oral parameters were measured for each participant. RESULTS In multivariate analysis, factors found to be associated with increased odds of pre-eclampsia were age > or =35 years (adjusted OR 2.20; 95% CI 1.08, 4.48), nulliparity (adjusted OR 2.73; 95% CI 1.38, 5.39), emotional stress during pregnancy (adjusted OR 4.22; 95% CI 1.79, 9.90), maternal history of pre-eclampsia (adjusted OR 16.04; 95% CI 5.82, 44.22), family history of cardiovascular diseases (adjusted OR 2.82; 95% CI 1.22, 6.51), family history of pre-eclampsia (adjusted OR 23.26; 95% CI 5.07, 106.78), twin births (adjusted OR 37.79; 95% CI 4.22, 338.51), and Body Mass Index (BMI). In comparison with women with pre-pregnancy BMI <25, adjusted OR were 1.97, 95% CI 1.02, 3.81 for women with BMI from 25 to 29.9, and 3.31, 95% CI 1.36, 8.03 for women with BMI > or =30. Mean decayed teeth surface was found to be associated with increased odds of pre-eclampsia (adjusted OR 1.14, 95% CI 1.03, 1.27). CONCLUSION This study demonstrated no difference to reported risk indicators of pre-eclampsia in other populations, but adds that dental caries may have an association with increased odds of pre-eclampsia.