Research has shown that periodontal disease in expectant mothers actually exposes their unborn children to many different risks, particularly if the mothers also happen to be diabetes sufferers.
Pregnancy causes many hormonal changes which increase the risk that expectant mothers will develop gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue) and periodontal disease. These oral problems have been linked in many research studies to preeclampsia, low birth weight of the baby and premature birth. Expectant women should seek immediate treatment for periodontal disease in order to reduce the risk of pre-natal and post-natal complications.
Reasons for the Concern:
Prostaglandin – Periodontal disease appears to elevate levels of prostaglandin in mothers who are suffering from the more advanced forms of the condition. Prostaglandin is a labor-inducing compound found in one of the oral bacteria strains associated with periodontitis. Elevated levels of prostaglandin can cause mothers to give birth prematurely and deliver babies with low birth weights.
C - reactive protein (C-RP) – This protein, which has been previously linked to heart disease, has now been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes including preeclampsia and premature birth. Periodontal infections elevate C-reactive protein levels and amplify the body’s natural inflammatory response. Periodontal bacteria may enter the bloodstream causing the liver to produce C-RP which leads to inflamed arteries as well as possible blood clots. These inflammatory effects can then lead to blocked arteries causing strokes or heart attacks.
Bacteria spread – The bacteria which colonize in the gum pockets can readily travel through the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body. In pregnant women, research has found that oral bacteria and associated pathogens have colonized in the internal mammary glands and coronary arteries.
There are many safe, non-surgical treatment options available for pregnant women. It is of paramount importance to halt the progress of periodontal disease in order to increase the chances of a safe and healthy delivery.
The advantages to pregnant women are plentiful. The risks of pregnancy complications caused by periodontal disease are reduced by as much as 50%, and these treatments will alleviate many unpleasant and harmful effects associated with gingivitis and periodontal infection.
If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal disease and its affect on pregnancy, please feel free to call the office.
Jenkintown Periodontics & Dental Implants, LLC
Dr. Neal B. Suway, Dr. Jeremy Toscano, and Dr. Natalie Amoa
Dental Implants, Cosmetic and Laser Periodontics
261 Old York Road Suite 319
Jenkintown, PA 19046
Phone: (215) 887-6060
Convenient to Philadelphia, Abington, Willow Grove, Elkins Park, Cheltenham, Horsham, Warminster, and Hatboro