How Gum Disease Can Lead To Premature Births

A photo of two bamboo toothbrushes

Today on the blog, we welcome Dr. Amanda Tavoularis from Dentably.com.  She’s here to share her knowledge on dental care and preventing premature births.

“During a woman’s pregnancy it’s important to stay healthy, both for the mother and the baby. While most women are quick to visit their doctor, many neglect their oral health. This is unfortunate as up to 70% of women suffer from gum disease (or gingivitis) during their pregnancy. Left untreated, this is a serious concern, and can even lead to premature birth. As a dental professional with over 20 years of experience, I’ve worked with countless women to help them make sure that their oral health doesn’t negatively impact their pregnancy.

Free Dental Care

First, it’s important to keep in mind is that as a pregnant woman you’re entitled to free NHS dental treatment in the UK. This benefit extends for 12 months after your baby is born as well. All you need is a signed certificate from your doctor or midwife. With this, there’s no excuse not to go to the dentist, and it’s the right thing to do both for your health and your baby’s as well.

It Starts at Home

Good oral health always starts at home; a proper routine is essential to preventing infection and any further complications. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing once per day, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. All these together greatly lessen the chance of getting any type of mouth infection, including gingivitis.

It’s also important to watch your diet as this directly impacts your oral health. Foods that are high in sugars are much more likely to cause tooth and gum damage. Cutting these foods out of your diet makes it less likely you’ll experience dental problems from bacteria.

Continue with Your Appointments

Even when pregnant, it’s important to continue to go to your regularly scheduled appointments. A dentist appointment is the best way to get a deep mouth clean and remove any built up plaque. A dentist will also evaluate your oral health, and let you know if there are any issues. Catching these types of problems early is key to preventing issues down the road, so don’t put off or skip your scheduled dental appointments. The sooner you catch a problem, the sooner you can treat it, and a visit to the dentist is the only way to verify issues.

Getting Treatment

If you are diagnosed with gum disease getting treatment quickly is important. Left untreated, the bacteria can attack your gums and surrounding bones, and find its way into your bloodstream. From there it can spread throughout your body, which can lead to further complications including preterm births. Most doctors will recommend visiting your dentist for procedures in your second trimester, so it’s perfectly okay to have dental work done during pregnancy. Let your dentist know that you’re expecting, and they’ll do their best to work with you. They’ll also take care to not harm your baby during any sort of operation; for example, providing antibiotics or anaesthetics that are safe for both of you.

Dental health is very important for expectant mothers, and when neglected can lead to a myriad of health issues. This includes preterm births, so make sure to take this seriously. Have a proper dental hygiene routine and going to scheduled appointments is one big step towards a healthy birth.”

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