The Effects of Gum Disease on Pregnancy


1. Pregnancy & Periodontal disease

It is common knowledge that once you are pregnant, you must do your very best to live a healthy lifestyle because your health and the health of your baby are directly linked. Periodontal health, even though not commonly spoken of, should also be taken into consideration. Research has shown that a pregnant woman with periodontal disease risks suffering unpleasant pregnancy outcomes.

These include:

β€’ Having a pre-term baby

β€’ Having a baby with low birth weight

Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, happens to be a chronic condition. It is induced by bacteria and is an inflammatory condition affecting the gums and the bone that support your teeth in severe cases. If you don’t seek treatment soon, you may lose your teeth. This condition is also associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Indicators that you may be suffering from this condition include:

β€’ Tenderness

β€’ Swollen gums

β€’ Redness

β€’ Bleeding gums, especially when brushing your teeth

β€’ Bad breath

β€’ Receding gums

β€’ Loose teeth

Should you notice these symptoms while pregnant, do not ignore them. Speak to a dental professional as you may need treatment.

2. How Pregnancy Affects the Gums and Teeth

Approximately 50% of pregnant women will suffer from gingivitis induced by the pregnancy. This is an uncomfortable condition often causing tenderness of the gums, bleeding, swelling and redness. When the condition advances, it is known as periodontal disease. This is a very serious infection of the gums that goes about destroying the fibers as well as the bone that holds your teeth in place.

3. Is There A Link Between Periodontal or Gum Disease and Low Birth Weight Babies?

Yes, research shows that there is a correlation between the two. It has been found that pregnant women suffering from this condition are 7 times more likely to give birth to a baby with low birth weight or have a premature birth of their babies. When a pregnant woman suffers a severe case of this disease, there is an unusually high level of bacteria known as prostaglandin in their body. This bacterium induces labor, leading to pre-term births and low birth weight babies.

4. Are There Pregnancy Problems Related To Gum Disease?

As mentioned above, this condition can indeed cause pre-term births and low birth weight babies. As part of your to-do list, you must also visit a periodontist who will look at your gums and make a diagnosis. If the diagnosis says that you have gum disease, you will undergo a procedure that is non-surgical known as scaling and root planing. It is a deep periodontal cleaning procedure that alleviates the symptoms mentioned above such as gum tenderness and swelling. This procedure will reduce your risk of having a pre-term baby.

5. Diagnosis and Treatment during Pregnancy

All along you may know that pregnant women should keep away from smoking, drugs and alcohol since they are a risk for premature births and low birth weight babies. This disease of the gums should also be included in that list. In fact, if you are pregnant, it is recommended that you go for a periodontal evaluation. You should visit your dentist for regular checkups and dental cleaning. A visit to the periodontist will yield a diagnosis should there be a problem.

Periodontal surgery as well as other major treatments such as gum graft should be postponed unless they are urgent. If there must be a procedure, the 2nd trimester is the time to have it as the 1st trimester is critical for fetal organ formation. The 3rd trimester is also not recommended for procedures since the chair used tends to be very uncomfortable for the expectant mom.

6. Dental Tips for Good Periodontal Health

Here are some tips for good periodontal health:

β€’ Floss daily

β€’ Brush twice a day

β€’ Maintain a balanced diet

β€’ Keep up your dental checkups

β€’ Avoid alcohol and cigarettes

β€’ If suffering from morning sickness be sure to rinse out your mouth with clean water several times a day and brush often.

It is important that you have this checked even though you may not be suffering the aforementioned symptoms. It goes without saying that if you catch it early, you will not need advanced treatment and the effects on your baby will be negligible if any.