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Sep 5

Pregnancy and Periodontal Health

Most women know that it is key to maintain a healthy lifestyle when pregnant, both for their own sake and for that of their baby. Now, an American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) study has indicated that women with periodontal disease could be at risk for pre-term births or delivering a low-birth weight baby.

Periodontal Disease & Its Affects

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a bacteria induced chromic inflammation of the tissue of the gums and sometimes can even affect the underlying jaw bone. This bacterial infection, and the subsequent inflammatory reactions, can deepen the space between your gums and teeth called the gum pocket. This can cause the gums to recede and in some cases teeth can become loose or even fall out. Gum disease, if not properly treated, can also lead to many other serious health issues including diabetes, strokes, and cardiovascular problems.

Health Issues For Babies

Low weight babies, or those who are born under 5.5 pounds, may be prone to more adverse long-term health affects like delayed social growth, delayed motor skills and learning disabilities, according to the Center for Disease Control. Pre term births, or those born three weeks or earlier, can lead to respiratory issues, digestive troubles, and even vision and hearing loss in those babies. Though preterm babies are a very small percentage of total births, they do represent a large portion of infant deaths. Preterm babies also may spend months in neonatal intensive care units in the hospital, which can be a drain for families both emotionally and financially.

Good Oral Health = Healthy Pregnancy

According to the medical and dental communities, keeping up periodontal health is a crucial part of having a successful pregnancy. The AAP and EFP suggested therapies for gum disease do not involve surgery and are safe for expectant mothers. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also came out with recommendations that periodic dental cleanings and good oral heath decrease the chance of pregnancy difficulties.

Reduce Your Risk

Gum disease risks can be greatly reduced by things like routine brushing and flossing, changes in the diet, taking more vitamins, and regular dental checkups. Pregnancy does lead to increased blood flow throughout the body that can cause swelling, sensitivity, and tenderness in gums. Expectant mothers should make sure to schedule a dental appointment immediately if their gums are bleeding or highly painful, they find a loose tooth or have a pain in one, or if they find a lump in their mouths.

We Can Help!

These new findings add to the importance of seeing a dentist on a regular schedule. If you are contemplating pregnancy, or are already pregnant, make sure you add a visit to the dentist to check your gum health and general teeth cleanliness. Arbor Dental Group offers a highly trained team specializing in the treatment of periodontal disease that can help with any gum issues. They will talk with you about all your options if you require any in-depth periodontal treatment.

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