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Pregnancy, Health and Dental Care

Getting proper dental care and keeping on top of your oral health is always important, but it’s likely never more important than when a woman is pregnant. Read on for some interesting recent studies that can help pregnant women manage their dental health.

Did you know?

Unaddressed periodontal issues in pregnant women, such as periodontitis, have been associated with preterm birth. But new research is showing that treating periodontal problems during a pregnancy in which the mother is already at risk for preterm birth can actually have benefits that outweigh any potential risks.

“Although periodontal treatment is not universally effective, there is little indication of clinically significant harms from treatment or, at least generally, no excessive overall attrition or statistically increased preterm birth in any study,” the study authors wrote.

However, a posthoc subgroup analysis of the study findings indicated a statistically significant association between the treatment of periodontitis and reduction in the risk of preterm birth for groups with high risks of preterm birth, they added.

The fact that women who have other risk factors for preterm or low-birth-weight babies and also have chronic periodontitis can lower that risk by having scaling and root planing is new information that has not been reported before, according to Dr. Karimbux.

“Dentists can use these findings in their everyday practice to educate their pregnant patients, as well as their fellow physicians, and maybe improve the systemic health of some patients,” he added.

Did you know?

Bleeding gums are a frequent, and unfortunately, fairly common complaint among pregnant women. Bleeding gums are an early warning sign of gum disease, such as gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can advance to a more serious stage, called periodontis, which can result in bone and tooth loss in the mouth. Researchers have wondered for years why gum disease is more prevalent in pregnant women, and now it appears they may finally have an answer: estrogen.

A research team recently concluded that women are at increased risk of gum disease when estrogen levels are raised, as they are during pregnancy. Regardless of trimester, the study found pregnant women are at a higher risk for gum disease based on estrogen levels.

If proven to be definitively true, it will likely change how pregnant women are treated regarding their oral health. Although most dentists prefer to treat pregnant women only during the second trimester, it’s still essential for them to visit the dentist regularly, even more so than it is for other patient populations. Being seen before even trying to conceive is an even better plan of action.

If gum disease progresses in a pregnant woman, it can result in issues such as premature birth and labor complications, among others.

If you are pregnant and need to be seen, please give our Ann Arbor dental office a call today at 734-677-2156 or visit our website for more information.

–Dr. Shannon Norman-Kotre, Ann Arbor Dentist


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