Pregnancy, Periodontal Disease, and Pre-Term Labor

Did you know that the effects of periodontal disease extend beyond the compensation of your own health and oral hygiene? It’s true, periodontal disease, or periodontitis, can in fact have detrimental effects on the health of an unborn baby, increasing the mother’s chances of going into pre-term labor and giving birth to a baby with low birth weight.

Current research has now established a strong link between periodontal disease and pre-term labor in expecting mothers. This association is due to the underlying relationship between the development of periodontal disease and the body’s other organ systems, including the cardiovascular, endocrine, reproductive, and respiratory systems.

Specifically, research published through the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine has classified periodontal disease as an “independent risk factor” for premature labor and low birth weight babies. This link can be explained through the idea that the effects of the periodontal infection extend past a localized gum infection. Periodontitis, classified as an inflammatory disease, is an infection that affects the tissues that naturally surround and anchor the teeth into place. However, the risk of pre-term labor and low birth weight come into play once the bacteria that leads to gum inflammation enters the expectant mother’s bloodstream and are directed at the developing fetus.

A separate research investigation published by Contemporary Clinical Dentistry concluded that the relationship between periodontitis and pre-term labor is indeed significant and noteworthy. As previously noted, the risk factor is rooted in the concept that periodontal infection has a direct link with other systemic diseases of the body. All in all, the relationship between periodontal disease and pre-term labor cannot be ignored and can be more prevalent than expected. It is for these reasons that it is even more important to maintain proper oral hygiene- to ensure that your gums, teeth, and body are healthy before becoming pregnant and all the way through your pregnancy.

Periodontal disease is completely avoidable, considering adequate, regular oral hygiene is practiced at home and professional dental visits are routinely scheduled. At Southland Dental Care, we specialize in the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease. We cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth, as it can affect both your current health and the health of unborn, future generations.

A dental investment is a lifelong investment. Call us today at (818) 788-8787 to schedule a complimentary visit to evaluate any potential signs of periodontal disease, and to secure both your health and the health of your baby.

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