Gum Disease and Pregnancy
August 29, 2017
Pregnancy is a huge moment in time for a woman, whether it is her first pregnancy or her fifth. During the nine months of pregnancy, there is a lot to be done: tell friends and family, make and keep prenatal appointments, decorate a nursery, buy all the essentials, and make and keep dental appointments. Wait, dental appointments? Yes.
During pregnancy, huge changes occur in a woman’s body – more than just a growing abdomen. The entire body must accommodate the development of a growing baby which includes the respiratory system rising to accommodate more oxygen that the mother and baby needs, the blood supply doubling, the breasts growing and preparing to produce milk, and the hormones drastically fluctuating to adapt to the developing baby and for the preparation for delivery. To fully appreciate that all of that occurs in just nine months is actually remarkable!
Dental visits become a huge priority for expectant mothers because the same hormones that are responsible for the developing placenta inside the uterus are the same hormones that have a direct impact on the gum tissues and oral health. Hormones affect the skin, hair, and gum tissues, and these effects are often not pleasant (i.e. acne). When hormones affect the mouth, they cause the gum tissues to develop gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease, a serious form of gum disease that has irreversible consequences. “Pregnancy gingivitis” affects 40% of expectant mothers, and if left untreated it can cause devastating consequences.
Because the body is connected by a single blood supply, infections inside the mouth can easily transfer throughout the body. An infection in the gum tissues can travel via the blood stream directly to the uterus and cause serious problems with pregnancy. Research has proven a direct link between gum disease and the following:
- Preterm labor
- Low birthweight babies
At Heritage Dental, we encourage pregnant mothers to make their oral health a priority. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, please call to schedule an appointment for a thorough cleaning and exam. We are here for both you and your growing baby.
23945 Franz Road, Suite A
Katy, TX 77493