Pregnant women are well aware that their health can influence that of their unborn baby; this is why they should try to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the whole pregnancy period. However, very few of them know that a mother’s oral health is also of great importance to an unborn baby.
A new study from the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) has shown that pregnant women who develop gum disease face a higher risk of giving birth prematurely or having a baby with a lower birth weight.
The condition, known as periodontal disease, is bacteria-induced and affects not just the gums but also the bone that holds the teeth in place, the research, published in the Journal of Periodontology and Journal of Clinical Periodontology, revealed. The disease has also been linked to diabetes and heart disease.
Nancy Newhouse, president of the AAP, explained that pregnant women should be careful if they notice tenderness, change of colour or swelling of the gums; these are some of the symptoms of periodontal disease.
Both the EFP and AAP agree that non-surgical treatment of gum disease is safe for pregnant women. Mothers-to-be are encouraged to visit their dentist for routine monitoring of their oral health, making sure they are taking all necessary measures for a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.