Metro Dental Health
11150 Fairfax Boulevard
Fairfax, VA 22030
Metro Dental Health
2112 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Pregnant Women With Periodontitis
If you are thinking of starting a family or having another baby, here is some recent news on the relationship between oral health and pregnancy.
Periodontal disease (or gum disease) affects about 23% of women between the ages of 30 and 54. Pregnant women face an increased riskfor developing periodontal disease because, during pregnancy, hormonal changes in the body promote inflammatory responses. These hormonal changes also increase blood circulation to the gums, which promotes sensitivity and greatly increases irritability in the gums. About 50% to 70% of women develop pregnancy gingivitis between the second and eighth month of their pregnancy due to increased levels of progesterone and estrogen.
The Effect of Periodontal Disease on Pregnancy
According to a special report published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene, periodontal infections are associated with negative pregnancy outcomes. Pregnancy and birth complications of gum disease include premature delivery, low birth weight, preeclampsia, which is a pregnancy induced hypertension, gestational diabetes and fetal loss. If you have periodontal problems during pregnancy, you could face increased risk factors for these birth complications.
The risk increases as the severity of the periodontal infection increases. Low birth weight and preterm delivery also increase the risk of the baby developing other health problems including respiratory and developmental problems.
Periodontal Health Guidelines for Pregnant Women
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) offers oral health guidelines for pregnant women to observe in order to maintain healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy. The AAPD recommends the provision of oral healthcare education to pregnant women, practicing proper oral hygiene, use of fluoride based toothpastes, following proper nutrition and diet during pregnancy, treating existing tooth decay problems, chewing xylitol gum and taking careful measures to prevent transmission of the bacteria responsible for gum disease.
If you are thinking of starting a family or having another baby, it is important that you visit your dentist or a periodontal health specialist for a gum evaluation before you get pregnant or soon after you conceive.
You should also see the dentist immediately if you notice any changes, such as bleeding and swelling, of the gums. Women with diabetes have a higher risk of developing gum disease and regular dental evaluations are necessary. You should also follow a balanced diet and observe strict oral and dental hygiene for your own health and that of your unborn baby.