Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

Prevention and Treatment Reduces Premature Births

In this article from our series on periodontal disease (the infection of the gums and oral bones and tissues by bacteria) we look at the effect this problem has on pregnant women and their unborn children. For the majority of dental history, doctors assumed there was no connection between serious gum disease and the health of a fetus. What we now know is that untreated periodontal disease is a contributor to early births and other potential birth complications in pregnant women.

Studies in animals started in the 1980’s regularly indicated that the toxins released into the bloodstream by oral bacteria — the same bacteria that create plaque and lead to gingivitis — contribute to miscarriages, early births and low birth weights. Then a 2002 study from Chile followed four hundred pregnant women with periodontal disease. Of these, half were treated for their oral infection during pregnancy, while the other half were treated immediately after. Of the treated women, only some two percent had early births. Of the untreated women, ten percent gave birth early.

The Chilean study was confirmed by studies at the University of Alabama. In a study involving over eight hundred pregnant women, only four percent of those treated immediately for their gum diseases had early births, while more than thirteen percent of those left untreated experienced early labor. While additional studies involving thousands of pregnant women are ongoing, and some have suggested that there may be no effect on pre-term birthrates, it has been confirmed that treating gum disease in pregnant women does not lead to birth complications. This information alone suggests that treating gum disease in pregnant women as soon as possible is the best dental practice both for their health and to prevent birth complications in their children.

Very sweet staff. Very delicate and cautious with the knowledge of me being pregnant.” — Testimonial from a patient of the Sacramento Dentistry Group

The Sacramento Dentistry Group is prepared to assist our pregnant clients to maintain their health and that of their unborn child by preventing and treating periodontal disease. If you are pregnant and notice any swelling, redness, bleeding or looseness of teeth or gums, please make an appointment right away. We are happy to start your family dental care even before your child is born!

  • Myra
    Posted at 10:33h, 10 July Reply

    Very informative and helpful article. How specifically is gum disease treated in pregnant women? Is more required than a routine cleaning for an otherwise healthy pregnant woman?

  • Jessica (@squareduptweets)
    Posted at 15:25h, 02 August Reply

    I know that gum disease is really bad on the heart too, but this was new to me. I think most women would be afraid of getting any work done on their teeth while pregnant, or might assume any gum problems might clear up when the baby is born. But nine long months of dental toxins on the health of the baby is something to think about.

  • Sacramento Dentistry
    Posted at 21:52h, 07 August Reply

    Periodontal treatment for pregnant women is the same as for the rest of the population. As the studies show, treating gum disease in pregnant women appears to reduce the likelihood of difficulties during pregnancy. Pregnant women should continue their regular dental hygiene program, including visits every six months to a dentist with the Sacramento Dentistry Group.

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