Gum Disease and Pregnancy

Women who want to ensure a healthy pregnancy will maintain good health habits, including regular visits to the doctor, avoiding foods and beverages that may be harmful to the baby and taking a course of pre-natal vitamins. Did you realize that seeing a periodontist can also be an important to-do for an expectant mother?

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk of developing gum disease because the hormones affect the interactions between the gum tissue and plaque, the sticky film that clings to the teeth.

Therefore, it’s important for women to maintain good oral hygiene habits throughout their pregnancies (and while trying to conceive, too) and keep scheduled appointments with dental professionals. Expectant mothers should also be sure to schedule those appointments at the appropriate times. Dental cleanings are to be avoided during certain trimesters, for example.

The effects of inflammation associated with gum disease are not restricted to the mouth. The consequences of gum disease during pregnancy can be serious. Research has suggested a link between gum disease and pre-term birth. In fact, women who have gum disease may be up to seven times more likely to give birth prematurely. The mechanism underlying this phenomenon is uncertain, but it may be because oral bacteria are able to travel through the bloodstream to the uterus and instigate chemicals that promote premature labor.

Low birth weight is another concern if a baby is born prematurely, along with other developmental issues.

To reduce their chances of such negative outcomes, pregnant women should be sure to monitor their gums for signs of concern. Take note of any bleeding, swelling or redness, and bring these symptoms to your dentist’s attention.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you may want to be evaluated by a dentist or periodontist to be sure that no gum disease is present. If you do develop gum disease during your pregnancy, consult with our periodontal team to learn about your treatment options.

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