The following information was written by Dr. Minsk and published on various internet web-sites.
10% of all babies born in the United States are premature or have low-birthweight. These babies that weight less than 5lbs
8oz spend more time in the neonatal intensive care unit, have more childhood handicaps, and have a higher infant
mortality rate. If you are pregnant, not only are you at greater risk of developing periodontal problems, but if you do have
periodontal disease you have a higher risk of having a premature, low-birthweight baby. Pregnant women who have
periodontal disease could be seven and a half times more likely to have a baby that is born too early or too small.
Hormonal changes related to pregnancy exaggerate the body’s normal response to dental plaque. Pre-existing gum
problems worsen during pregnancy and the periodontal problem can become quite sever. Gum problems related to
pregnancy usually diminish after pregnancy but may not go away completely. Without proper treatment, they can result in
gum and/or bone loss.
But like all infections, periodontal disease in a pregnant woman may also affect the health of the baby. The periodontal
infection can affect the fetal growth through the toxins that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease release into the
bloodstream. Periodontal disease can also stimulate the production of inflammatory chemicals that can cause the cervix to
dilate and stimulate uterine contractions.
A recent study compared the oral health of women who had low-birthweight babies with that of women who had normal
babies. After taking into considerations other risk factors such as tobacco use, drug abuse, alcohol consumption, and poor
nutrition, the 93 women who had low-birthweight babies had significantly more advanced periodontal disease compared to
the 31 women who had normal babies.
Pregnant women and their obstreticians should be aware of how periodontal infection can affect them and their babies. As
with other forms of periodontal disease, pregnancy gingivitis and the effects of periodontal infections on the fetus can be
prevented with regular, thorough professional cleanings and good oral hygiene. If you are or are planing to become
pregnant, visit your dental care provider right away. Your dentist will review oral hygiene techniques and assess your
dental care needs for prevention or treatment of periodontal disease. A periodontal screening and treatment should be part
of your prenatal care
SWARTHMORE DENTAL ASSOCIATES
Nikolaos D. Karellos, D.M.D. | prosthodontist
Laura Minsk, D.M.D. | periodontist
Nikolaos D. Karellos, D.M.D.
Laura Minsk, D.M.D.
801 Yale Ave.
Swarthmore, PA 19081