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Periondontal Disease May Cause Low-Birth-Weight Babies

Metro Dental Says Data Confirms the Correlation

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Two of the dental clinics we work closely with say that pregnancy is a time to pay special attention to gingivitis. Metro Dental and Coastal Dental Care say this is an area that is not talked about enough. This is because people do understand that periodontal disease is linked to diseases like diabetes and heart disease, few people realize that it can have serious complications in young women who give birth. New findings indicate that soon-to-be mothers with tooth decay, and especially those who do not get treatment, may have a higher risk in giving birth to babies of low birth weight than mothers who did not have periodontal disease. Additionally, pregnant women who ate larger amounts of sugar usually had children that eventually also had many more cavities than other children.

Take Care of Your Oral Health When Pregnant

Metro Dental suggests that pregnant women should get treatment for their periodontal disease as soon as they know they are pregnant. This minimizes the chances of having babies that are pre-term. The dentists at Coastal Dental say that one of the key factors in having full term babies is to receive proper dental treatment before and during pregnancy. This information comes from a study published in the Journal of Periodontology.

It Means the Reduction of Low Birth Weight By As Much as 68%

Metro Dental Dentists believe that good Periodontal therapy reduces pre-term birth and low birth weight infants by as much as 68%, when the pregnant woman has pregnancy
associated gingivitis.

Can my pregnancy affect my oral health?

Coastal Dental Care says that pregnant women often have increased oral health issues and they need to get them controlled.   In pregnant women, it is often the bleeding or swollen gums that are the significant indicators of periodontitis or gum disease, and these usually occur from the third month of pregnancy onward. It is a common occurrence and most women suffer from gingivitis when pregnant, says Metro.

The dental team at Metro tell us that expectant mothers experience higher levels of the hormones and this causes an increase in oral bacteria. It is the actual bacteria and the acids that they give off that cause  the gums to have problems. Dentists at MD tell us that in many instances, a woman develops a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis” The symptoms of this type of gingivitis include;

  • inflamation in the gums
  • bleeding, especially when you brush your teeth.

Gingivitis during pregnancy begins around the second or third month of pregnancy. It continues until the ninth month and then diminishes. If you have gingivitis before you get pregnant, it will most likely get worse during your term, especially if you go without treatment. In the U.S. only an approximate 50% of pregnant women go to the dentist during their pregnancy. Note that it is bacteria that causes gingivitis, and it can be treated at your dental office.


A mothers gingivitis becomes dangerous for the infant because of the bacterial growth. Infections can travel through the blood and the toxins they carry can attack other parts of the body which include the baby.
Coastal Dental Care tells us that the body produces a fatty acid called prostaglandins to fight off the gum inflammation.  During the pregnancy this level of prostaglandins grows, and it peaks when you go into labor. Studies now show that this higher level of prostaglandins can cause your body to go into labor prematurely and cause the baby to be born too small or too early.

Pregnancy Tumors Defined

When you are pregnant, you can experience benign growths on your gums. This is your body’s response to the increased level of bacteria in your mouth.  These “tumors” do not often occur, but when they do, they are usually painless. These are not cancerous growths but you do need to visit your dentist to get treatment. These growths usually go away after your baby is born.

Dental Treatment while Pregnant?

When pregnant you should go to the dentist, experts at Coastal. In fact, you should probably go a couple of times throughout your pregnancy, and if you experience gum inflammation or bleeding you need to tell your dentist.  Remember, problems with your gums could affect the baby. Regular checkups are important, but if there is something major your dentist needs to do, he may postpone it until after the birth.  Note that it is the first trimester where your dentist will be the most careful. This is the stage of pregnancy where the baby’s organs are formed and your dentist will want to keep you and your child from harm so he may opt to forego procedures that require anesthesia.  Your dentist may put off these procedures until after the first trimester.

 

If I do need treatment, Can I Take Medications?

Metro Dental Care suggest that you take medications with care while pregnant. Your dentist will only prescribe medications that offer no harm to the baby. . If you have a problem with gum disease, your dentist may ask you to come in more frequently so he can treat it adequately. In most cases,  dental anesthetics such as Novocain or lidocaine are safe, even for pregnant women.

If your dentist does decide to perform dental work during your pregnancy, he may prescribe antibiotics, and these are considered safe, so long as you avoid tetracycline which can cause discoloration of a child’s first teeth. You can also take acetaminophen for pain, but you should abstain from aspirin laden medications.

What Do I Do?

If you need dental treatment while pregnant, Metro Dental Care suggests you should find a good dentist and ask him about what treatment you can have and which procedures should wait until after the pregnancy.

Prevention

You can prevent gingivitis by using good oral hygien practices and going to the dentist frequently. Do not avoid going to the dentist because you are pregnant, this is a time you need to be more careful.  Note, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day and after meals when possible.

Floss daily

Some women have morning sickness during the first trimester. If this is your problem, be sure to wash out your mouth with water after throwing up. Brush your teeth more frequently if possible. This neutralizes the acid of vomit.

If you feel sick because of morning sickness, rinse your mouth out with water first and then brush without the toothpaste but be sure to use a fluoride mouthwash. Visit your dentist and ask him to recommend a different type of toothpaste. Be sure to eat a balanced diet full of vegetables and fruit.

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