Pregnancy and Gum Disease

Most women are aware that smoking, drinking, and drug use will have a negative effect on pregnancy.

There are studies that show pregnant women may be at a higher risk of giving birth to pre-term and low-birth-weight babies when they have gum disease.

It is important for more research to be done regarding this correlation but one thing is for sure…

Any active infection in pregnant women should be avoided at all costs and gum disease is a living breathing infection in your mouth. Get it treated.

Studies by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry revealed that women with gum (periodontal) disease may be up to seven times more likely to deliver a pre-term, low birth weight baby. 

Pregnancy and Periodontal Disease

There used to be an old wives’ tale that said “A tooth is lost for every child.” While it may seem farfetched, it may actually be based loosely on fact. Your teeth and gums can be affected by pregnancy, just like other areas of your body. Most commonly, pregnant women can develop gingivitis, or pregnancy gingivitis, beginning in the second or third month and can increase in severity through the eighth month of pregnancy. During this time, some women notice swelling, bleeding, redness, or tenderness in the gum tissue. In some cases, gums swollen by pregnancy gingivitis can react strongly to local irritants and form a large lump. These growths, called pregnancy tumors, are not cancerous and are generally painless. They usually disappear after pregnancy, but some may require removal by a dental professional, such as a periodontist. The best way to avoid periodontal conditions associated with pregnancy is to begin with healthy gums. If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, you should visit your dentist or periodontist for a comprehensive periodontal evaluation. 

If you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, you need to know that your periodontal health may affect the pregnancy and ultimately the health of your baby. Pregnant women who experience periodontal disease during their pregnancies may be twice as likely to develop preeclampsia, which is characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. It can put you and your baby at risk for severe complications. 

Additionally, studies have suggested that women who experience periodontal disease during pregnancy may be at risk of having a premature or low birth weight baby. The good news is that researchers are making strides to find out exactly how periodontal disease affects pregnancy outcomes. Some studies have suggested that treating periodontitis during pregnancy may reduce the risks of a preterm birth. Preventing gum problems from developing during the stresses of pregnancy also appears to be important in improving the health of mother and baby. 

If you are already pregnant and have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, treatment by your dental professional may reduce your chances of having a preterm, low birth weight baby. Talk to your dentist or periodontist for more information. If you’re considering pregnancy, it’s a good idea to include a periodontal evaluation as part of your prenatal care. 

A healthy mouth can help give you, and your baby, something to smile about!

To view the full article published by the American Academy of Periodontology, click here.

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