Did you know that dental health can be associated with pre-term labor and low birth weight (PLBW) in infants? According to Periodontitis – A True Infection, “infection is now considered one of the major causes of PLBW deliveries, responsible for somewhere between 30% and 50% of all cases, and periodontitis and periodontal diseases are true infections of the oral cavity.” [Saini R, Marawar PP, Shete S, Saini S.]
While future mothers know certain aspects of their health are important during their pregnancy, many may not understand that gum health is a very important part of their overall health. Gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. The cause of periodontal disease is plaque – the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth. The frightening reality is that because gum disease is usually painless, most people are unaware they even have it.
If you are having issues with your gums and you are pregnant, it is not too late to get the required treatment during pregnancy. The best ways to protect yourself from periodontal disease include:
- Regular visits to the dentist to check for any gum issues
- Regular oral care from brushing, flossing, chewing sugar free gum, etc
Those who were treated with scaling and root planning before they reached the 35-week stage of their pregnancy reduced their chance of having a premature baby by 84%. You can read more about preventative oral care here.
Studies conducted by:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Pennsylvania
University of Alabama
Rajiv Saini, Santosh Saini, and Sugandha R. Saini. Periodontitis: A risk for Delivery of Premature Labor and Low-Birth-Weight Infants.