Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

Research has shown that expectant mothers who are suffering from periodontal disease actually exposes their unborn child to many different risks. (And it gets even riskier if they also happen to suffer from diabetes.) At the same time, it’s also more likely for a pregnant woman to develop some form of gum disease.

Pregnancy comes with many hormonal changes. This can increase the risk of developing gingivitis and periodontal disease. Many studies have linked these conditions to preeclampsia, low birth weights, and premature birth. We can help expectant mothers get the treatment they need in order to reduce the risk of pre-natal and post-natal complications.

How Is Pregnancy Connected?

There are many different reasons why periodontal disease may affect the health of the mother and her unborn child:

  • Prostaglandin – Periodontal disease appears to elevate levels of prostaglandin in mothers who are suffering from the more advanced forms of periodontitis. Prostaglandin is a labor-inducing compound in one of the oral bacteria strains, and these elevated levels can cause premature birth and low birth weights.
  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP) – This protein has been linked to heart disease as well as adverse pregnancy outcomes, including premature birth. Periodontal infections elevate CRP levels and amplify the body’s natural inflammatory response. It’s also possible for periodontal bacteria to enter the bloodstream where it can cause the liver to produce CRP which can inflame the arteries and possibly cause blood clots.
  • Bacteria spread – When bacteria colonize your gum pockets, it can get into the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body. In pregnant women, research has shown that oral bacteria and associated pathogens can colonize in the internal mammary glands and coronary arteries.

What Can We Do About It?

We offer a range of safe, non-surgical treatments for pregnant women. We want to stop the progression of periodontal disease to increase the chances of a safe and healthy delivery.

Initially, we will examine your gums and jawbone and make a precise diagnosis. Scaling and root planing are two common, non-surgical procedures that can clean off the tarter from the tooth and roots and the bacterial toxins from the gum pockets.

The risks of pregnancy complications caused by periodontal disease can be reduced by as much as 50% when you receive the proper treatments. Our treatments will alleviate many unwanted effects associated with gingivitis and gum disease.

We can also provide education and recommendations about effective home care and how to reduce the risks to the mother and child.

If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal disease and its effect on pregnancy, please contact our practice.

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