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"Baby Steps" to a healthy pregnancy. Pregnant women with gum disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early, too small and vulnerable to too many health risks.
If you, or someone you know, are planning to become become pregnant soon, make sure to stay on top of daily oral hygiene and dental visits. If you have not been flossing regularly or have not had your six-month dental cleaning, there is a good chance you have gum disease.
Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and preterm, low birth weight babies. It is likely that the culprit is a labor inducing chemical that is actually found in oral bacteria called prostaglandin. Very high levels of prostaglandin are found in a women with severe periodontal disease.
About half of women experience pregnancy gingivitis. This is the early stage of gum disease. Common symtoms include swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue.
When gigivitis is not properly addressed, it can develop into the more advanced oral health condition, periodontitis. This infection destroys the supporting bone and gums which holds teeth in place. The infection can also spread to other parts of the body.
If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease during pregnancy, a non surgical procedure called scaling and root planing may be recommended. Research suggests that these procedures may reduce the risk of preterm birth in pregnant women with periodontal disease.
Remember, the health of your gums may affect the health of your baby-to-be. Taking baby steps to give your child an on-time delivery is one of the best ways to give your baby a healthy start.