Women who become pregnant are generally counseled to avoid certain things. Cigarette smoke, alcohol, and drugs are commonly regarded as harmful substances for growing babies. Gum disease, although less commonly discussed, can have a similarly negative effect.
If you plan to become pregnant, or you are pregnant now, it is important to understand the effects gum disease could have on your child.
How Does Gum Disease Affect A Growing Fetus?
Modern research has shown that pregnant women who suffer from gum problems place their babies under higher risks than those who do not. These women often give premature birth and have low birth weight babies due to various types of gum problems experienced during pregnancy. The evidence shows that bacterial infections in the mouth can spread to various parts of the body, often reaching these unborn children.
A conclusive study that was done by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry showed substantial evidence regarding this topic. In their research, the conclusion was made that pregnant women who suffered from periodontal disease increased their risk by up to seven times. Premature birth and low birth weight babies were the most substantially noted risks, although there were likely others as well.
How Can You Tell If You Have A Gum Problem?
If you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, it is very important to pay attention to the signs of periodontal disease and gingivitis. If your symptoms are left untreated, the results may be severe. Pain is not a common side effect, so it is important to be aware of what to look for so you can seek out proper treatment early on.
Here are some of the side effects commonly noted by people suffering from gingivitis or periodontal disease:
• Gum inflammation and tenderness
• Gum bleeding during or after flossing or brushing your teeth
• Receding or “pulled away” gum line
• Changes in bite or teeth strength
• Strange pus in mouth
• Severe halitosis (bad breath)
As soon as you notice any of these symptoms, seek out the care of your periodontist. Even if symptoms are not noticed, it is generally wise to have oral health checked before and during pregnancy.
Changes During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, many changes occur in a women’s body. When women have experienced gum problems in the past, they are at a high risk of developing gingivitis while they are pregnant. This is the least dangerous form of gum disease and one that can generally be treated. As soon as any symptoms are noticed, set up an appointment with your periodontist before the problem turns into periodontal disease, which is far more serious.