Periodontal Gum Disease

    Q: How does periodontal gum disease affect pregnancy?

    A: It is known that periodontal disease can adversely affect pregnancy, but it is not completely understood what the exact mechanism is. Research suggests that the bacteria that cause inflammation in the gums can actually get into the bloodstream and target the fetus, potentially leading to premature labor and low birth weight babies, and one study shows an increased risk of preeclampsia in women with periodontal disease.

    You can possibly decrease your risk and to prevent the development of periodontal disease by seeing your periodontist or dentist before and during pregnancy. For women who are planning to get pregnant, a thorough periodontal exam and appropriate treatment should begin prior to pregnancy. For women who are already pregnant, meticulous oral hygiene and frequent professional cleanings may be helpful.

    Periodontal Gum Disease
    All women contemplating pregnancy and those already pregnant should see their dentist before and during pregnancy. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and bone, caused by plaque -- a sticky film of bacteria that adheres to teeth. Three out of four adults are affected by periodontal disease at some time in their lives. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to periodontal disease. It is known that periodontal disease can adversely affect the pregnancy, but it is not completely understood what the exact mechanism is.

    Research suggests that the bacteria that cause inflammation in the gums can actually get into the bloodstream and target the fetus, potentially leading to premature labor and low birth weight babies, and one study shows an increased risk of preeclampsia in women with periodontal disease. You can prevent the development of periodontal disease by seeing your periodontist or dentist before and during pregnancy. For women who are planning to get pregnant, a thorough periodontal exam and appropriate treatment should begin prior to pregnancy. For women who are already pregnant, meticulous oral hygiene and frequent professional cleanings may be helpful.