Pregnancy and Oral Health
Any infection during pregnancy is a cause for concern.
The latest trials have shown that a pregnant rat with induced periodontal disease can result in low birth weight and premature labour in rats and offspring with low birth weight. Another trial showed that untreated periodontal disease in pregnant women gave a 10% greater chance of pre-term delivery.
A larger trial involving 1800 women in North Carolina looks like backing up these trials.
In 2002 a study showed that oral bacteria can cross the placenta and be transferred to the developing foetus. The danger is much greater early in the pregnancy.
Elevated levels of inflammatory chemicals which are present in periodontal disease, stress the foetus and can cause premature delivery and consequently low birth weights.
However the correlation is not always clear cut and the same factors which may cause susceptibility to periodontal disease may also be the cause of abnormalities in pregnancy. As yet there is not enough evidence to say equivocally that gum disease causes complications in pregnancy but the evidence is mounting.
What we can say is that we do know how to treat and control gum disease and the treatment can be safely provided during pregnancy. This will improve the mothers oral health, reducing inflammation and infection and reduce factors that may cause harm to her unborn baby.
The use of products such as GC mousse
(without fluoride) is recommended as it increases the bioavailability of Calcium, phosphate for mother and baby.
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Reference: Steven Offenbacher DDS and Ph.D biochemistry