Low birth weight and premature babies
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.
Gum disease and Moms-to-be:
How can your gums affect the weight of the baby? Well, it has to do with the fact that periodontal disease causes bacterial infections. Pregnant women should avoid any situation where they can obtain an infection, knowing that there may be repercussions on their health or that of the unborn baby. It is becoming clear that an infection of gum tissues is no exception.
Women who have experienced problems with their oral health are most likely to experience gingivitis (the earliest form of gum disease) during pregnancy. Even tissues in the mouth undergo changes during pregnancy. Gingivitis usually appears in the second or third month and can last all the way through the ninth month of pregnancy. If your gums bleed when you brush and floss, this indicates that you have gingivitis.
If a dental professional does not treat these red and swollen gums, the condition can deteriorate to periodontal disease, eventually leading to tooth loss.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill believe that toxins are then released into the bloodstream and the body reacts by producing chemicals that cause premature labor.
Will I know if I have gum disease?
You may not normally experience pain with gingivitis or periodontal disease, but there are other symptoms you should watch out for:
(1) Red, swollen or tender gums;
(2) Bleeding gums when you brush or floss;
(3) Gums that seem to have pulled away from the teeth;
(4) Loose teeth;
(5) A change in your bite;
(6) Pus between teeth and gums; and
(7) Persistent bad breath.
More research will be done to determine how pregnant women with periodontal disease should be treated. For now, we suggest having your oral health checked before you consider pregnancy, or as soon as possible after you know you are pregnant.