Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

Most of us know that periodontal disease and inflammation can harm our physical health and wellbeing. But did you also know that underlying gum inflammation can result in pregnancy-related complications as well? According to a research study, one in every five women who develop periodontal disease has a higher risk of developing adverse effects related to pregnancy.

Pregnancy and Periodontal Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 60-75% of pregnant women suffer from periodontal disease, characterized by swollen, red, and bleeding gums. If the underlying inflammation is left untreated, it can cause widespread destruction of the fibers and bone tissue that hold the teeth in place. As a result, the teeth become loose and can ultimately fall out. 

How Does Periodontal Disease Affect Pregnancy Outcome?

According to research, there is a link between undergoing periodontal disease and gynecological complications. Scientists believe that the bacteria present in the inflamed gums may travel across the placental barrier through the bloodstream and affect the health of the fetus and the mother. This can increase the risk of problems such as preterm or low-weight birth. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory chemicals released due to periodontal inflammation also increases the risk of complications in pregnancy.  

According to the CDC, babies born with a birth weight of fewer than 5.5 pounds are more prone to health problems such as delayed motor skill development and learning disabilities. These complications are also more prevalent in those who are born at least three months premature. Other periodontal disease-related complications in babies include respiratory problems, hearing and vision loss, and digestive problems.

How to Prevent Periodontal Disease-Related Complications Associated with Pregnancy?

According to doctors and dental experts, maintaining good oral hygiene is the key to ensuring a healthy pregnancy. According to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), non-surgical periodontal therapy, also known as a dental deep cleaning, which involves scaling and root planning – is safe for pregnant women and helps improve periodontal health and pregnancy outcomes.    

The principal causative agent that results in pregnancy-related complications is the dental plaque harboring harmful, disease-causing bacteria. Both professional cleanings and good routine oral hygiene, such as regular brushing and flossing, go a long way in ensuring proper dental, physical, and gynecological health in pregnant women.

If you suspect you may have periodontal disease, call us at 773-481-2200.