Periodontal disease and pregnancy
Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is a bacterial infection destroying the soft tissues and bones that support your teeth. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that can increase the risk of dental problems, which in turn can affect the health of your developing baby.
Fusobacterium nucleatum is a common oral bacterium that causes periodontal disease. Pregnant women can experience bleeding gums through which the bacteria F. nucleatum can enter the blood stream. Once in the blood stream, the bacteria enter the placenta and amniotic fluid triggering a preterm delivery. Pregnant women with periodontal disease are more likely to deliver premature and low birth weight babies.
Pregnant women have a higher incidence of gingivitis, also known as pregnancy gingivitis, which generally begins in the second or third month of pregnancy and is likely to worsen during the eighth month of pregnancy. During this time, gum tissues may feel tender, swollen, appear red and are more likely to bleed. Sometimes large lumps called pregnancy tumours develop in response to local irritation, to the swollen gums. These growths are non-cancerous and usually painless in nature, and may be removed by a dentist.
It is essential to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your pregnancy. You can prevent periodontal diseases by following good oral hygiene habits such as daily brushing and flossing, using anti-gum disease mouth washes, and visiting your dentist regularly during your pregnancy.
If you are planning to become pregnant or suspect you are already pregnant, consult your dentist for a dental health check-up. Pregnant women should take care of their oral health and receive appropriate dental treatment, during their pregnancy, to reduce pregnancy complications such as preterm delivery. Your dentist will evaluate your oral condition and determine a precise treatment plan for the rest of your pregnancy.