Denver, CO – If you’re pregnant, or plan to become pregnant soon, do you know the importance of proper oral care during pregnancy? As we’ve discussed before, oral health is closely linked to general health, and hormonal changes during pregnancy can also be responsible for oral health changes. This is why it’s important for pregnant women to continue receiving care by their dentist or periodontist during their pregnancy.
Increases in estrogen and progesterone can change the way gum tissue reacts to plaque. And if you are lax in your oral care during pregnancy, that plaque can build up and cause gingivitis. During pregnancy, a common side effect is bleeding gums when brushing. Many women mistakenly brush this off as no big deal, but it could actually be the beginning of gum disease.
And studies have shown that there is a link between gingivitis and both low birth weight and premature babies.
In a study printed several years ago in the Journal of Periodontology, researchers found that there was significant risk for preterm birth in women with gingivitis, after first adjusting for other major risk factors. While the exact reasons for why are not completely known, it is believed that the infection that causes the gum disease creates an increase in the fluids that trigger labor.
The bacteria that causes gingivitis enters the blood stream through the gums, where it then can travel to the uterus. There, it is thought to trigger the production of prostaglandins, the chemical that induces premature labor.
If you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, it is recommended that you have a thorough periodontal evaluation as part of your prenatal care. Proper care during pregnancy can ensure your periodontal disease does not progress. And studies have shown that periodontal therapy during pregnancy can reduce the risk of preterm labor and low birth weight by as much as 84 percent.
The good news is that pregnancy-related gingivitis is both preventable and easy to treat. To prevent gum disease, brush and floss regularly, paying close attention to the gumline. If you are worried about your risk for developing gingivitis, talk to your dentist or periodontist about scheduling more frequent cleanings to control the level of plaque in your mouth.
If you are currently pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon, visit the experts at Altura Periodontics to ensure healthy gums throughout your pregnancy and a healthy, full-term baby.
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