Pregnant woman brushing her teeth

Periodontal Disease Linked to Pregnancy Issues

Researchers around the world have been studying gum disease, or periodontal disease, to discover what kind of impact oral health has on other parts of the body. The results of these studies have shown that periodontal disease is linked to several chronic diseases. A study conducted and presented earlier this year has shown that poor dental health can also have an effect on a woman’s pregnancy.

Periodontal disease is a very common occurrence being found in one in every 10 people. The disease shows itself through a chronic infection and inflammation of the gums and its supporting tissue. When proper dental health, such as brushing and flossing, is not conducted, bacteria in the mouth sticks to the food and mucus in the mouth forming plaque that resides on the teeth. When that plaque hardens, it becomes tartar and the two combined irritate the gums and cause inflammation. You can tell if you have periodontal disease through its signs which include swelling of the gums, redness in the gums, and bleeding of the gums.

The negative effect of poor dental health on pregnancy has been well established. Studies in the past have shown that failure to maintain healthy dental habits can lead to issues such as miscarriage and premature birth. But recent research has shown that poor dental health can also have a negative effect on fertility.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia recently conducted a study into the effects of periodontal disease on fertility. The results of their study showed that gum disease has the ability to delay conception by more than two months in women with poor dental health. Even worse results were shown for women that were not Caucasian. In those women, it took an average of more than 12 months to conceive. Coincidentally, the results of periodontal disease on pregnancy are quite similar to that of the effects of obesity on pregnancy. The results of this study were presented to the World Conference on Fertility which was held in Stockholm, Sweden.

So how exactly does periodontal disease, a disease located in the mouth, end up affecting pregnancy. The answer is that the bacteria that exists in the gums have the ability to spread into local blood vessels. By spreading through the blood vessels, the bacteria can quickly spread throughout the body where it can cause additional problems. Some of the health issues that periodontal disease has been linked to includes heart disease, diabetes, and premature labor.

Studies have also shown that pregnant women have a higher risk of contracting periodontal disease while they are pregnant. This type of periodontal disease is known as pregnancy gingivitis. The symptoms of the disease, swelling of the gums, inflammation of the gums, and bleeding of the gums, are higher in women that are pregnant due to their high hormone levels.

To help avoid any issues with pregnancy due to oral health, it’s recommended that women planning to get pregnant or have become pregnant include their dentist in their list of pregnancy doctor visits. Besides routine visits to the dentist, the typical healthy oral care habits of brushing and flossing twice daily will help to keep those issues at bay.

Ultimately, periodontal disease has the ability to have a major impact on the future health of the child. As would be expected, any medical issue regarding the timeline of the baby’s arrival can have a negative effect on the baby’s future health. A delayed birth can cause serious issues to a baby, such as injury to the infant’s brain and other issues.

Various studies over the years have connected periodontal disease with a variety of other medical issues, such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes. Recent studies have shown that periodontal disease also has a negative effect on fertility, adding to the already known issues it causes with other pregnancy issues like miscarriages and premature births. The studies further suggest that by regular dental visits and by taking care of your dental health by brushing and flossing twice a day while pregnant, women are giving themselves a better chance at a successful birth and limiting the chances that the baby may have birth defects. If you are in need of periodontal treatment, come to Vero Implants and Periodontics.