When you find out you’re pregnant, your gums are probably one of the last things on your mind. Yet, research suggests that taking care of your teeth and gums should be at the top of your list, along with picking out a name and buying diapers. The American Academy of Periodontology estimates that about half of pregnant women experience gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis range from swelling and redness to bleeding and tissue tenderness. This may seem like a small concern in relation to having a baby, but researchers have discovered a link between periodontal disease and pre-term births.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, pregnant women with periodontal disease are up to seven times more likely to give birth early, meaning they are at risk of having an underdeveloped or low-weight baby. The cause of this link is thought to be a chemical called prostaglandin, which, in high levels, can cause labor to be induced. Fortunately, women who receive treatment for their gingivitis and periodontal disease can reduce their chances of having a pre-term birth. If you’re pregnant, make an appointment with your dentist so you can clear up any problems right away. Dentists can remove plaque and tartar from the gums and help you get rid of any signs of gingivitis, leaving you with a healthy and low-risk pregnancy.