Can Gum Disease Cause Birth Defects?

Posted on March 27th, 2021

Miami dentist, Dr. Ramon Bana at Miami Sedation and Cosmetic Dentistry tells patients how gum disease in pregnant women is linked to birth defects and pregnancy complications.What is Gum Disease?

The short answer: gum disease is a common gum infection that can become very problematic, but you can prevent it! The long answer: all the tissues in your body have a self-defense mechanism called “inflammation.” When bacteria build up in your mouth, your gum tissue will inflame to try and kill it. Gum inflammation is called gingivitis and looks like red, soft, and sore gum tissue.

Over time, gingivitis can lead to more troublesome gum disease (called periodontitis) that can grow even deeper and start to harm the bones of your teeth and jaw. Severe gum disease can wreak havoc in your mouth. Pregnant women need to be especially careful because gum disease is linked with pre-term births and babies with low birth weight. 

Every mom and mom-to-be wants the best start for their baby on their journey into parenthood. Read on to learn more from Dr. Ramon Bana of Miami Sedation and Cosmetic Dentistry about gum disease and pregnancy.

Gum Disease, Pregnancy, and Birth Defects

Here are the facts:

  • Up to 75% of pregnant women get gingivitis. About 50% of those women will see it worsen during pregnancy.
  • Hormonal changes and diabetes – conditions common to pregnancy – can increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Studies show higher maternal age and lower socioeconomic status are both risk factors for gum disease during pregnancy.
  • Though we don’t yet fully understand the reasons, gum disease is proven to increase your risk of preterm birth and having a baby with low birth weight.

Why is this important?

Babies born weighing less than 5.5 pounds have an increased risk of slower development (physically, socially, emotionally) for the rest of their lives. Babies born too early can have those same complications as well as problems with their vision, breathing, hearing, and digestion. Talk to your doctor to learn more about preterm birth and low birth weight.

How You Can Prevent Gum Disease

There’s no hall pass for brushing your teeth while pregnant. Preventive oral hygiene (brushing, flossing, professional dental cleanings) is both safe and necessary, especially for pregnant women. Not to mention your pregnancy cravings may have you enjoying an extra sweet treat or two these days – ice cream for breakfast, anyone?

Stay ahead of the game and prevent gum disease by eating tooth-friendly foods and keeping your mouth clean. If gingivitis crops up, don’t hesitate to get a professional cleaning at the dentist. You can also ask for prescription-strength mouthwash if you need the extra help.

Talk to both your primary doctor and your dentist about your overall health, including the state of your gums. If you’re looking for a Miami dentist, we’d love to care for you during this special time. Contact us today to make an appointment!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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About Ramon Bana, DDS

Dr. Bana’s patients describe him as down-to-earth, professional and full of heart. He is talented and strives to make each patient leave the office feeling better than when they arrived. Patient comfort is his top priority, and patients say they feel like extended family. He is dedicated to his practice, patients and team – and it shows. Dr. Bana loves coming to work because his work changes people for the better. Patients leave his care healthier, happier and with brighter smiles.