However, the American Academy of Periodontology and the EFP-European Federation of Periodontology urge women who are pregnant to seek regular specialist dental care to avoid adverse complications during pregnancy.
The number one risk of pregnant women with periodontal disease is to give birth to a pre-term or low-weight baby. These are extremely dangerous complications which put at a high level of risk both the baby and the mother.
Maintaining good periodontal health during pregnancy is extremely important, because during this period the entire system of the woman is extremely vulnerable and susceptible to all sorts of infections and diseases. Both the EFP and the AAP strongly advises women should go regularly to the dentist for periodontal checkup in order to rule out the possibility of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation of the gums induced mainly by bacteria buildup. The gum tissue is severely attacked and if the disease progresses too much the jaw bone is affected as well. As the jaw bone gets weaker and weaker in density, the teeth cannot be supported correctly anymore, so teeth may fall out.
Periodontal disease is also closely linked with plenty other systemic diseases such as diabetes or heart complications. The bacteria can easily travel into the bloodstream causing havoc, so you should never allow gum disease to develop in the first place. Or, if it has also developed the infection must be stopped with proper treatment.
Plenty of researches have already shown that pregnant women with periodontal disease expose themselves to a much higher risk of delivering low birth babies or delivering pre-term, compared to women who are not affected by the disease. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) warn that babies who are born with a weight less than 5.5 pounds can be at risk of:
- developing delayed motor skills
- problems with growth
- developing learning disabilities (such as ADHD or dyslexia for example)
- respiratory system issues
- hearing loss/vision complications
- digestive system problems
For the sake of a healthy pregnancy, on term delivery and a healthy baby, every pregnant woman should pay particular attention to periodontal health. According to EFP and AAP there are many non-surgical periodontal treatments available which are safe for pregnant women.
During pregnancy, regardless of whether you struggle with bleeding of the gums (the start of gingivitis) or not, regular professional dental cleanings are a must. If you normally go to the dentist every six months for cleanings, when you are pregnant you should get such dental cleanings approximately every other month.
The professional dental cleanings will safeguard against plaque and tartar buildup, so periodontal disease can be easily avoided. Also, the dentist can catch every little dental problem early and suggest the least invasive, safe type of dental treatment given your condition. Avoid adverse pregnancy complications by going for periodical periodontal evaluations and regular cleanings, plus respecting a thorough dental hygiene at home.