Pregnancy Gingivitis: Simple ways to avoid risk for you and your baby.

This post was authored by Brian Nash and posted to The Eye Opener on February 25th, 2011.

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I recently came across a website that offers a lot of really good advice for parents-to-be, and I’m happy to promote it on our blog. You may want to visit The Pregnancy Zone and bookmark it for future good reads. If you are a long-time reader of our blogs, you know by now we are really into sharing health and safety information with our readers. As we say on our Twitter page, we are lawyers trying to get the word out so you never need people like us

A recent post on The Pregnancy Zone brought to my attention a condition that, quite frankly, I was not all that familiar with - pregnancy gingivitis. Gingivitis is probably a condition that you are already familiar with. Simply put, it is a form of periodontal disease, which involves inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets. What I didn’t realize is that it has a real potential risk for moms-to-be and their babies. Watch this video by Dr. Jaimie Johnson for a better understanding of why it is important to not overlook this basic element of your prenatal care.


So why is this so important? Premature delivery is the primary reason.

At least a couple of major studies have shown that there is a link between gum disease and premature birth. Researchers of one study who published their results in The Journal of the American Dental Association found that pregnant women with chronic gum disease were four to seven times more likely to deliver prematurely (before gestational week 37) than mothers with healthy gums.

Mothers with the most severe periodontal disease delivered the most prematurely at 32 weeks. The researchers’ study did not address if treating gum disease would reduce the risk of preterm birth, adding that more studies need to be conducted to answer this question. Their main findings, however, support the results of another study that also showed that premature, underweight babies were born more often to mothers with gum disease.

Source: WebMD:

What also drew my attention to this topic was a story of a mom, who suffered a stillbirth at full term. The best cause for how this could have happened, according to her doctors, was that the bacteria from her dental condition had directly affected the placenta, leading to the death of her fetus in utero.

What is a bit disturbing about the WebMD post is the statement that the study “did not address if treating gum disease would reduce the risk of preterm birth, adding that more studies need to be conducted to answer this question.” Clearly, some blogs and videos on this topic indicate that there is a treatment-risk reduction benefit. It does seem to make common sense, doesn’t it?

Would love to know if you have any information to share about any other studies, ongoing research and the like on this topic. Sure seems that – at a minimum – getting good dental care during your pregnancy is sound advice and surely worth the effort in case there is a direct cause-effect-treatment relationship perhaps is the case.

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5 Responses to “Pregnancy Gingivitis: Simple ways to avoid risk for you and your baby.”

  1. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    Found this published in Smart Practice News in 2006: “according to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, Periodontal therapy reduced pre-term birth and low birth weight infant rates by 68% in women with pregnancy-associated gingivitis.”

  2. TheresaNo Gravatar says:

    Interestingly, periodontal disease (e.g. gingivitis) has been linked to a variety of acute illnesses and potentially life-threatening conditions, like heart attacks! It seems that the chronic inflammation associated with gingivitis causes the body to circulate inflammatory markers, cytokines and tumor necrosis factor which create an environment in the blood vessels (the placenta is very vascular, too!) conducive to plaque formation, platelet aggregation and rupture. Having worked the ER for 13 years, there is a lot of periodontal disease in the general population! This translates to a lot of disease potential. I was truly unaware of the pregnancy-related issue, but it all makes sense when you get down to the basics! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Devona RizoNo Gravatar says:

    Great job over again! Thanks a lot!

  4. Thanks for sharing a very important information. Oral hygiene is thus so important and it’s a neglected one also. I’ve also learned a new info.

  5. It’s always scary when you’re pregnant to take care of things like gingivitis because you don’t want to put harmful chemicals in your body. Hopefully you’ll talk to a professional before you do anything drastic.

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