Healthy Smiles For Mom-To-Be Helps Baby, Too!

Posted on Sep 26, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

In the U.S., women who become pregnant tend to be more committed to their health, since healthy choices can lead to a healthy baby. Most take prenatal vitamins, don’t drink, don’t smoke and eat wisely. However, recommendations from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) urge pregnant women to maintain excellent oral health as well. Research has shown that pregnant women with periodontal (gum) disease have higher risk for pre-mature birth or low birth weight babies.

Studies indicate that women with gum disease are more likely to deliver babies prematurely or with low-birth weight than mothers with healthy gums. This includes babies with birth weights of less than 5.5 lbs. or at least 3 weeks prior to the due date. These can result in long-term problems such as delayed motor skills, social development or learning disabilities as well as respiratory problems, reduced vision and hearing, or digestive complications.
Periodontal (gum) disease is the result of bacteria buildup and the nation’s leading cause of tooth loss. It is also an inflammatory condition that has been associated with other serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. Symptoms include tender, swollen gums that are red in color rather than a healthy pink, gums that bleed when brushing, persistent bad breath and receded gums that expose tender tooth roots.

The medical and dental professions agree that oral health plays an important role in a healthy pregnancy. Non-surgical periodontal therapy is safe and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourage pregnant women to continue regular dental cleanings during pregnancy.

Gum disease will not improve without professional treatment. The earlier treatment is provided, the less involved it will be so pregnant women, especially, are advised to seek prompt treatment.

A healthy mouth not only supports your overall health, it plays an important part in your baby’s well-being throughout your pregnancy. Smile your best, moms-to-be, and keep it healthy for you AND baby!

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