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Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

Can pregnancy be affected by gum disease? No kidding. Why? Much like the reason you would want to eat well to have your baby eat well, having a healthy mouth is very important to your unborn baby’s health too. It is true that there is a protective barrier function between an unborn baby and the mother’s womb, but many things can still transfer from the blood stream of the mom to the baby during pregnancy. Extensive research into the effects of gum disease on pregnancy have been around for years but unfortunately are largely overlooked. Low term birthweight, pre-eclampsia and premature birth are significant risks that face a mother with uncontrolled gum disease. At Periodontal Associates, our Littleton and Aurora periodontists are very aware of the link between gum disease and problems during pregnancy.

Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy

During pregnancy a woman will experience many changes in hormones and molecules within the blood. Some of these directly impact the gum tissues in the mouth or can stimulate birthing issues. One such hormone that can become off balance is called prostaglandin. Normally, this hormone is in very low production. At the right times, this hormone becomes elevated to help regulate inflammation and begin the delivery process of a newborn. Unfortunately, when a mother has uncontrolled gum disease, prostaglandin production can increase too early. If this production of prostaglandin becomes too high, early contractions leading to premature birth and a low birth weight is a serious problem that can occur. The bacteria that are found in gum disease actually stimulate your body to produce more prostaglandin at the wrong time.

C reactive protein, a molecule produced by the liver in response to inflammation also becomes elevated during gum disease. This marker indicates a high level of inflammation that can cause damage to blood vessels leading to the unborn baby. Inflammation during pregnancy can stimulate bodily stressors that could cause an early birth. Early births can subject a child to future health problems even if the situation is treated with hospital care. Premature babies may need special medical care in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU). Each year about 1 in 10 babies in the United States is born prematurely. Some of these births are cause by periodontal disease. The earlier a baby is born, the more likely it is to have health problems. Some of the problems may even take years to surface.

Is Gum Disease Treatment Safe During Pregnancy?

Fortunately, there are safe, non-surgical treatment options available for pregnant women suffering from gum disease. Halting this disease process during pregnancy is extremely important in helping to ensure a healthy and happy newborn. By having more frequent dental checkups and professional hygiene visits with a dentist, pregnant women can decrease the likelihood of having low term birth weight, pre-eclampsia and premature births by up to 50%.

If you have any questions or concerns on how your pregnancy could be affected by periodontal disease, Aurora and Littleton periodontists at Periodontal Associates are here for you. We will help you attain optimum oral health for the sake of your newborn. Please call (303) 755-4500 or email us today.

Your Dental Health Starts Here. Request an Appointment.

Or call — 303-755-4500
  • Jen H.Jen H.

    Allison is the best. I have been going here for years and she has done so much to keep my mouth healthy and happy.

  • Sharlene T.Sharlene T.

    Allison, the hygienist does an excellent job of cleaning the teeth. She makes me feel good about how I clean my teeth. I always appreciate going to see her...

  • Michael L.Michael L.

    Have been a patient for many years.always pleased with the level of care. They give there a positive experience.

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2101 E Arapahoe Rd.
Centennial, CO 80122


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Sat, Sun: Closed