Why does Gum Disease lead to Premature Babies?

gum disease and premature pregnancy

Your gums affect pregnancy more than you thought previously.

Did you know that pregnant women that suffer from gum disease are increasingly likely to give birth to low-weight preterm babies?  According to research from the University of Sydney, even mild gingivitis can cause a premature pregnancy.

This news is even more concerning as 70% of mothers are at risk after factoring in pregnancy’s sugar cravings, hormonal changes, and frequent vomiting (which creates acid that damages your teeth).

Why is this the case?

Untreated oral infections can cause or worsen existing inflammation throughout the body including the placenta.  The dangers of gingivitis can certainly be enhanced during this period, as some mothers are in so much pain that they’ll go weeks without brushing their teeth.  One condition in particular that pregnant women can develop is called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) which is particularly concerning as it can cause patients to vomit over 30 times per day.  The gastric acid that forms can erode tooth enamel and raise the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.  During pregnancy, your hormones will constantly be changing constantly which can lead to periodontitis, gingivitis, and infection to the bone that holds your teeth in place.

What is the solution (A consistent oral hygiene routine)?

Although many women may think dental treatments are unsafe during pregnancy it’s quite the opposite as many pregnant women tend to have unhealthy gums caused by plaque build-up leading to cavities.  It’s important for all pregnant women to remain extra diligent in their oral health routine during this time by brushing their tongues, flossing between each tooth, and using a fluoride mouthwash.  Being consistent and strict with your dental hygiene can seriously make a world of difference in impacting your baby’s health!

Best Practices during pregnancy:  

Since some women get swollen, sore, and bleeding gums during pregnancy it is very important to know how to take care of them.  The best plan of attack during pregnancy is to be extra diligent in your oral hygiene routine.

  • Ask your dentist about different procedures they may advise you to wait until after your pregnancy to have done i.e. certain x-rays
  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Floss between each tooth daily
  • Schedule a check-up in your first trimester to have your oral health checked and teeth cleaned
  • Rinse your mouth with water or fluoride mouthwash after every time you vomit to reduce the impact of the acid, then brush 30 minutes later
  • Cut down on sugar and focus on finding comfort foods that are accessible and healthy for your baby and teeth
  • If you’re planning on getting pregnant in the future it may be best to get a dental check-up ahead of time to see if there is anything that needs to get done especially since they can worsen significantly in 9 months
  • Strengthen your gums and teeth by straightening your teeth if they’re crooked with Invisalign in London Ontario, or improving your digestive health and enamel strength with Teeth Whitening in London Ontario

Conclusion:

Your pregnancy is going to be one of the best experiences of your life and being consistent with a great oral hygiene routine can drastically decrease your risk of getting gum disease or reduce the impact if you already have symptoms.

You can contact our dental clinic in London Ontario by using the Request An Appointment form, emailing us at [email protected], or by giving us a call at (519)-474-0220 we’d love to meet you.  If you need any more information on how you can manage your dental health when you are pregnant or want to talk to us, please contact us.

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