Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a serious infection that affects the tissues that support your teeth. When left untreated, it can even lead to tooth loss. But did you know that gum disease can also have an impact on your health during pregnancy? Read on to find out more about the connection between gum disease and pregnancy.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue and the underlying bone that supports the teeth. It is caused by a buildup of plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Over time, the bacteria irritate and inflame the gums, leading to the formation of pockets of pus between the teeth and gum line.
How Does Gum Disease Affect Pregnancy?
Here are a few ways that gum disease can affect pregnancy:
- Increased Risk of Preterm Birth: Research has shown that pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to give birth prematurely.
- Increased Risk of Low Birth Weight: Babies born to women with gum disease are also more likely to have a low birth weight. This can lead to a variety of complications for the newborn.
- Increased Risk of Gestational Diabetes: Pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to develop gestational diabetes. This is a type of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy and can lead to a variety of health problems for both the mother and the baby.
- Increased Risk of Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a disorder that can occur during pregnancy and is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Women with gum disease are more likely to develop preeclampsia.
- Increased Risk of Infection: Gum disease can lead to an increased risk of infection due to bacteria entering the bloodstream. This can lead to a variety of complications for both the mother and the baby.
How Can I Reduce My Risk?
The best way to reduce your risk of gum disease and its associated complications during pregnancy is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing daily. It’s also important to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups. Your dentist may also recommend using special mouthwashes or toothpastes to help control gum inflammation and reduce your risk of infection. Additionally, eating a balanced diet and avoiding sugary snacks and drinks can help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Gum disease is a serious infection that can have a variety of negative effects on your health during pregnancy, including an increased risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and infection. The best way to reduce your risk is to practice good oral hygiene, visit your dentist regularly, and eat a balanced diet. By taking these steps, you can help ensure that you and your baby stay healthy during your pregnancy. Contact Tar Heel Periodontics and Implant Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.