No Fuss Just Facts
Mummy’s to be; we don’t want to be another baby article telling you what you should or shouldn’t be doing (there are enough of those with enough conflicting information.) We want happy mums and happy babies so we will get straight to the point, as this information is important and we want to raise awareness. Pregnancy does affect your oral health, and it is important to your overall health as well as your baby’s health and safe delivery that good oral health is maintained. Poor oral health has been linked to preeclampsia, premature births, as well as low birth – weight in babies. In this article, we talk about the facts with the experts, such as pregnancy gingivitis, which affects 65-70% of pregnant women, gum disease and how your oral health affects your pregnancy.
They are your best friends and your worst enemies, and you guessed it, it’s down to your hormonal changes which cause such a great effect on your oral health. As you already know, during pregnancy you experience a surge of hormones such as an increase in oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones affect your biological response, meaning your body’s response to the outside elements from bacteria to sense of smell.
From the very start of your pregnancy right up until the end your hormones are always changing, this means that throughout your whole pregnancy your risk of oral diseases is greater until the last month of your final trimester.
We all naturally have bacteria in our mouths, the good and the bad, but while you are pregnant your hormones affect your biological response to this bacteria. This means while you're pregnant your gums and tissue surrounding your teeth become easily inflamed as well as sensitive and more susceptible to oral diseases. In the beginning stages of pregnancy 65%-70% of women will experience pregnancy gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease. Gingivitis is easily treatable, however, if it is left untreated this can develop into periodontal disease. Symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Red gums.
- Swollen tissue in the mouth.
- Inflamed or painful tissue in the mouth.
- Bleeding gums.
Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a bacterial infection of the gums, if not treated, this disease will decay the gum tissue leading to tooth loss and in severe cases loss of bone. This happens where the inflammatory reaction deepens the pockets between teeth and gums, forcing the gums and eventually the jawbone to recede. More information on gum disease.
Research has discovered that there are multiple links between periodontal disease and the health of an expecting mother as well as the health of her unborn baby.
This is chemical compound found in the body, which works much like hormones. It has been found that if a mother has gum disease this elevates her levels of prostaglandin. Why it is important is because it’s a labour-inducing compound. Prostaglandin compound is found in one of the oral bacteria strains associated with periodontitis. These elevated levels of prostaglandin can cause the mother to give birth prematurely as well as deliver a baby with a low birth weight.
C – reactive Protein (CRP)
The CRP is a protein produced in the liver which increases when the body is fighting an inflammation. Evidence suggests that bacteria can enter the bloodstream through periodontal pockets – the gap between the tooth and gums caused by gum disease. Periodontal bacteria in the bloodstream can cause the liver to produce CRP, raised levels of this protein has been associated with, preeclampsia premature birth, blood clots and more.
If you think that you may have gum disease or any mild form of gum disease and you are pregnant it is very important to visit a dentist. FYI - if you start treatment while you are pregnant this treatment is available free on the NHS. There are many safe as well as non-surgical procedures available to treat gum disease such as scaling and root planning so do not hesitate to get a dental checkup!
To help ensure a happy you and a happy baby, go for regular check-ups with a dentist to keep an eye on your oral health. Also make sure you are sticking to a dental health regime, such as brushing and flossing, check out some of our articles below on some tips and tricks to maintaining good oral health…