Pregnant women are under constant pressure to ensure they are leading a healthy lifestyle during the nine months to the birth of their baby – and with all these things to remember, it is likely they could forget about their oral health.
Dental professionals have been reminded of their responsibility to make sure expectant mothers are doing all they can to keep their teeth and gums in top condition, as failure to do so could lead to several health problems.
A new study carried out in the US has suggested that women with periodontal disease may be at risk of adverse outcomes to their pregnancy, including giving birth to a premature or low birth weight little one.
If they fail to get treatment for the condition, which is also known as gum disease, females could suffer tooth loss, while increasing the chances of developing other health conditions – such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
The findings are not the first time poor oral health has been linked to pregnancy problems such as low birth weight, which has been linked to long-term health problems such as delayed motor skills or learning disabilities.
Dentists are advised to inform and educate pregnant women about the dangers of poor oral health through dental marketing – including leaflets and posters – in order to encourage them to attend regular check ups throughout their gestation.
Dr Nancy Newhouse, a practicing periodontist in Independence, Missouri, said: “Symptoms include gums that bleed with toothbrushing or eating, gums that are pulling away from the teeth, bad breath, and loose teeth.
“These signs, especially during pregnancy, should not be ignored and may require treatment from a dental professional.”
Additional health issues that can occur after a pre-term birth include respiratory problems, vision and hearing loss, as well as feeding and digestive ailments.