Does Periodontal Disease Affect Pregnancy?

oral care, periodontal disease, oral cancer, Teeth cleaning, gum disease

Pregnancy gives rise to many hormonal changes which are having a high risk of the excited mother developing gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue) and periodontal disease.

Many mothers know that they can expect to have some problems with gum disease during their pregnancy. This is not true of every mother-to-be, but about 75 % of mothers will have some problems. Expectant mothers need to know that gum disease may result in babies born preterm – or stillborn. 

Premature Births

The Journal of the American Dental Association discovered that women who identified with chronic gum disease are more apt to deliver preterm than women who do not contain the disease. It is around four to seven times more possible that the delivery would occur before the 37th week of pregnancy. Women with more severe gum disease will likely deliver around 32 weeks. 

When a child is born prematurely, they are at a higher risk for several health problems. These issues may include learning disabilities, neurological conditions, respiratory problems, and infections. 

Stillbirths

It has been known that babies could be born preterm as a consequence of gum disease. Only in the previous years has there ever been a connection to stillbirths. 

This was discovered to be the case in a woman who, at 35, gave birth to a full-term stillborn baby. She wanted the death investigated because she had heard that some bacteria found in the mouth of mice had passed through the placenta into the baby mice. 

After researching the case, it was found that there were bacteria found in the baby that did not usually occur in the vagina. The investigation discovered that the same bacteria found in the woman’s mouth was found in the baby. It had successfully passed through the placenta into the baby’s stomach and lungs. 

The mother, in this case, revealed that she had heavy bleeding in her gums from gum disease while she was pregnant. Since the placenta has a usually suppressed immune system, the bacteria from the periodontal disease could pass to the baby. 

The researchers reveal that this was a rare case, and those expectant mothers should not be overly concerned. Women should, however, be more cautious about maintaining good oral health while they are pregnant because it definitely can affect the baby. 

Details About Gum Periodontal Disease 

In the United States, many people have gum disease. Some people are not aware of it because they do not recognize the symptoms or the potential damage that it can do to your gums, teeth, smile, and facial features.  Gum disease can and should be treated at any stage to avoid potentially severe health complications.

Gum disease is a problem because it is caused by bacteria that are usually found in the mouth. In a healthy mouth, the bacteria are generally kept under control by other bacteria, staying in the mouth as the gums become inflamed, the bacteria that cause them to get into the bloodstream: the inflammation and the bacteria spread through the body, causing buildups in the blood vessels and organs. 

Periodontal disease may also trigger pre-eclampsia, which is high blood pressure while pregnant. This can place more significant stress on the mother, the placenta, and the unborn baby. 

Gum disease occurs in two forms: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a mild form, and many people do not recognize that it is the start of a severe problem. It can usually be cured at home simply by brushing at least twice a day and flossing. Focus for at least two minutes each time you brush to do a more thorough cleaning of your teeth. Flossing is just as essential, and you may also want to use an antimicrobial mouthwash. 

What Are The Symptoms?

When you see the following symptoms, it is time to see a dentist for treatment:

  • Red and inflamed gums
  • Gums that bleed on brushing or flossing
  • Receding gums
  • Pus at the gum line
  • Ongoing bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain when you bite
  • A change in your bite.

Periodontal Disease Treatment

If gum disease remains untreated, it will become a more serious periodontal disease. Once it reaches this stage, it is necessary to get the help of a dentist to control and eliminate it. The dentist may use several treatments to bring it under control and possibly eliminate it. Treatments may include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Dental cleaning
  • Scaling and root planing
  • Surgery

Because pregnant women are more vulnerable to gum disease, it may be necessary to have ongoing dental treatment to control it. Treating gum disease in pregnant women has been shown to decrease the number of prostaglandins. These are substances that are known to produce inflammation. These substances, along with others, may increase your risk of premature birth or stillborn birth. 

Dr. Venkataraman, DDS

Meet Our Dentist – Periodontist, Dr. Archana Venkataraman, DDS, MSD, a Board-Certified Periodontist at ToothHQ Dental Specialists Grapevine. Dr. Venkataraman can’t wait to meet you and discuss your teeth replacement options.

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