If you are already pregnant or planning a pregnancy in the near future, see your dentist as soon as possible. Pregnancy can cause oral health problems as a result of fluctuating hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. When this happens, your gum tissue may be more susceptible to the effects of plaque. This raises your risk of having periodontal disease, which can affect the health of your newborn if not recognized and treated promptly.
Periodontal Disease And Maternal Oral Health
When plaque is not promptly removed, gingivitis can quickly develop. Fluctuating hormones during pregnancy can make your gums red, tender, swollen, and prone to bleeding. This gum condition is known as "pregnancy gingivitis," and it usually affects almost all pregnant women during their pregnancies.
It can start in the first trimester; however, some women do not experience gum problems until just before delivery. If you have gum disease when you become pregnant, it may worsen as your pregnancy progresses. If left untreated, mild gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a severe type of gum disease that can cause bone loss of the bones that support your teeth.
Periodontal Disease And Fetal Health
Untreated periodontal disease can threaten fetal health. It may raise the risk of low birth weight newborns and premature births. When oral bacteria from your gum tissue finds its way into your bloodstream, it can migrate to your uterus.
This can promote the release of prostaglandins, which are chemicals that are thought to trigger early labor. At the first sign of gum disease, you should see your dentist. If your baby is born too early as a result of maternal gum disease, not only will he or she be born with a low birth weight, but other complications such as problems with digestion, hearing, vision, and breathing may also occur.
It is important to note that while fetal health can be compromised as a result of periodontal disease, it is very rare. Gum disease is extremely common during pregnancy; however, when it is well-managed by your dentist, your risk for having a premature birth, a low birth weight baby, or a baby with birth defects related to your gum disease is low.
Discuss your risk for gum disease with both your obstetrician and your dentist. In the meantime, maintain a good routine of oral care, eat healthy foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water to help rinse away oral bacteria.