During pregnancy, a woman understands the essence of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to guarantee the safety of herself and the unborn child, and now, clinical suggestions from the American Academy of Periodontology reiterate the importance of gum care for pregnant women. Studies have shown that women with gum disease may be predisposed to complications or defects during pregnancy, such as premature delivery or low birth weight. As stated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), babies with a birth weight lower than 5.5 pounds may be at risk of long-term health issues such as hindered motor skills, learning disabilities or slow social growth. The same complications apply to babies born a minimum of three weeks earlier than their estimated delivery date. Other issues related to premature births include respiratory conditions, hearing or vision impairment or digestive or feeding problems.
Gum care effects
According to the American Dental Association, gum disease occurs when the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth become infected. It is one of the primary causes of tooth loss in adults. Since gum disease is typically painless, it may go a long time before detection. Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is a result of plaque accumulation, a sticky sheet that forms when bacteria binds with food debris in the mouth.
Periodontal disease is a chronic, inflammatory disease caused by bacteria and affects gum tissues, and in more complicated conditions, the bone supporting the tooth. If the situation is not treated in time, periodontal disease may cause tooth loss and has been linked to other systemic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
The first signs of periodontal disease include tenderness, inflammation or redness of the gums. Other symptoms include gums bleeding while brushing the teeth or eating, gums that are receding from the teeth, halitosis (bad breath) or shaky teeth. These signs, if discovered during pregnancy, should be taken seriously, since they may need treatment by a dental expert.
The importance of gum care
According to the AAP, non-surgical periodontal treatment is advisable for pregnant women and can help their gum health. The report, published both in the Journal of Periodontology and Journal of Clinical Periodontology, provides the course of action for dental and medical professions to use for the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease in pregnant women.
Also, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently published a report advising pregnant women to maintain excellent oral health and keep to the recommended routine dental cleanings during pregnancy. Brushing and flossing regularly and visiting a periodontist, dentist or dental hygienist for thorough periodontal evaluation during pregnancy may reduce the risk of developing adverse pregnancy complications.
It is essential for expectant women to maintain proper gum care and consult their periodontist or dentist for proper advice. By ensuring proper oral hygiene and periodontal health, you are not only helping your general wellbeing but also making sure that you have a safe pregnancy and deliver a healthy child.
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