The Link between Gum Disease and Premature and Low Birth Weight

A woman cradling her womb while out in a park

Your oral health can contribute to various illnesses and conditions. Equally, certain health conditions may adversely affect your dental health.

Gum or periodontal disease, for example, can cause a variety of health problems if left untreated. This condition affects people of any age or gender. Pregnant women and their unborn children are no exception. Kapadia Orthodontics provides more information about the condition.

Periodontal Disease in Pregnant Women

Periodontal disease is characterized by swollen, red, and bleeding gums, as well as bone and tooth loss. If you are pregnant and you are experiencing these symptoms, you could be at risk of having a premature or underweight baby.

Link between Gum Disease and Premature Birth

Doctors have not yet found exactly how gum disease and premature birth are linked. What’s known is that increased levels of progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy can make gums more vulnerable to plaque, leading to swelling and bleeding. The hormonal changes increase the susceptibility of pregnant women to gum disease.

Researchers also suggest that inflammation and intra-uterine infections could be responsible for the higher chance of preterm and low birth weight babies in pregnant women diagnosed with gum disease.

How Pregnant Women Can Protect Themselves

It’s important to keep your teeth and gums clean while you are pregnant. The ideal way to prevent or manage gum issues is to maintain good oral hygiene. Other than frequent brushing and flossing, be sure to talk to your dentist regularly. The dentist will clean your mouth and advise you on the best ways to keep it clean at home.

The causes of preterm birth and low birth weight are multifactorial. Accordingly, many women with healthy gums may still experience these problems during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant, you should talk to your obstetrician or dentist to get tips on how to protect yourself and your unborn child.