Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

It’s important for expectant mothers to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the remainder of their pregnancy. In order to avoid complications, women are advised to exercise regularly and maintain a balanced diet. However, there are other factors that could endanger an expectant mother’s health and the health of her baby. One of these factors is developing periodontal disease. Studies show that the mouth and body connection poses a potential threat to pregnant women. Periodontal disease and pregnancy have been associated due to the increased levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a progressive oral health issue characterized by inflamed and irritated gums. The disease starts with gingivitis and eventually leads to advanced periodontitis.

Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy - Toledo Dentist

It starts with bleeding gums and ends with permanent tooth loss. When bacteria from plaque buildup isn’t removed thoroughly, the bacteria starts attacking the surrounding structures of the mouth. This includes the teeth, the gum line, and the jaw.

Periodontal disease has been linked to several other systemic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Additionally, periodontal disease is also connected to the complications a woman might encounter during pregnancy. Studies show that neglecting the disease could lead to premature labor and low birth weight babies.

The Connection between Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

Hormonal changes during the different stages of a woman’s life can cause an exaggerated response from the body. This is because the surge in estrogen and progesterone tend to increase the blood circulation to the gums. When this happens, the gums become sensitive and react overly defensive to the irritants in plaque. Inflammation will occur and bleed easily when you brush your teeth. Afterwards, when the gum tissues are torn, they leave an opening for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This line of events can pose as a significant threat to the expectant mother’s health and the health of her baby due to the plaque drifting through the bloodstream.

The excessive bacteria can travel to the uterus and trigger a production of chemicals that induce premature labor.

Women are oblivious to this risk because the progression of the disease isn’t accompanied by any pain. Only during the late stages will pain be present for a person to recognize progressing periodontal disease. However, there are several warning signs that can help you identify a progressing periodontal disease. The symptoms include the following:

  • Bleeding Gums
  • Gum Swelling or Tenderness
  • Loose Teeth
  • Receding Gum Lines
  • Pus

What to do if Periodontal Disease is Progressing

Knowing about your overall oral health is key to battling periodontal disease. In order to prevent the disease from progressing further, pregnant women are advised to see a dentist right away. The dentist will perform routine exams and cleaning in order to prevent plaque buildup. If the disease has advanced to its later stages, visit a periodontist.

Periodontal disease and pregnancy complications can be difficult to control and treat once periodontal disease advances to its later stage. Our office specializes in treating periodontal disease. It is, however, paramount that you consult your obstetrician before undergoing any dental surgeries. Lastly, prevent the disease from progressing at all by maintaining good oral hygiene. Standard oral health routines such as brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash regularly can prevent plaque buildup and infections.