Studies have shown that periodontal disease in pregnant women exposes the unborn child to various risks, especially if the mother is a diabetic.
Periodontal disease (periodontitis), is the gradual condition that leads the recession of the gum or jawbone, and ultimately tooth loss. Periodontal disease may lead to severe health problems in various parts of the body due to the toxins found in plaque. When the gum tissue becomes inflamed, the destructive results include the irritation of the gingiva (gum tissue). This in turn causes bacterial infection (gingivitis) that results in the damage of the underlying bone and gum tissue.
Hormone fluctuations that occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause naturally put women at a higher risk of periodontal disease. Research shows that pregnant women who have periodontitis are more likely to deliver underweight, premature babies. Pregnant women with periodontitis have higher levels of prostaglandin (labor-inducing chemical), which increases the chances of delivering an underweight baby.
Connection Between Periodontitis Impacting the Health of the Mother and Unborn Child:
Prostaglandin: An increase in the levels of prostaglandin in mothers who are suffering from the more advanced forms of the condition appear to also have periodontitis. Prostaglandin is cyclic fatty acid compounds with fluctuating hormone like effects that induce labor, triggering the mother to give birth prematurely.
C – reactive protein (CRP): This protein has been linked to harm pregnancy outcomes such as premature birth and preeclampsia. The entrance of periodontal bacteria into the bloodstream can lead to inflamed arteries and possible blood clots due to the excessive production of CRP by the liver. The inflammation can ultimately lead clogged arteries and increase the chances of heart attacks and strokes.
Accumulation of Bacteria: Bacteria that infest the gum pockets can rapidly move through the bloodstream and impact other parts of the body. Studies found that oral bacteria and pathogens accumulate in the internal mammary glands and coronary arteries of expectant mothers.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
It is absolutely crucial to cease the development of periodontal disease in order to allow the mother to have the healthiest delivery possible. Many non-surgical procedures are available for expecting mothers. However, before any precautions are taken, the dentist will examine the specific condition of the gums and jawbone. Two non-surgical options include scaling and tooth planing, which clears the build up of bacterial toxins from the gum pockets and remove the calculus (tartar).
When diagnosed and treated, pregnancy complications caused by periodontal disease are reduced by half. These treatments will also assuage many unpleasant and harmful effects associated with periodontal infection and gingivitis. Home-care also reduces the risks of periodontal disease when the mother takes precaution to avoid smoking and consuming healthy foods/vitamins
Please ask your dentist if you have any questions or concerns about periodontal disease and its affect on pregnancy.