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periodontal disease and pregnancy

The physiological changes taking place during pregnancy increase a woman's susceptibility to oral health problems. The CDC estimates 60 to 75 percent of women in pregnancy have gingivitis, a milder version of periodontal disease.

Proper dental care is essential for preventing gum inflammation and periodontal disease. At Jason Widner DMD Family Dentistry, you can expect our team to uphold the highest standards of dental care. We encourage pregnant women to visit our dentist for critical checkups to prevent cavities and periodontitis.

Gum Disease in Pregnant Women

Periodontal disease is a condition that primarily affects the gum and surrounding soft tissue. Gum disease begins with inflammation of the gums which causes gingivitis. Pregnant women who develop gingivitis show similar symptoms to those experienced by other people. They have swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums.

The principal factor causing inflammation is physiological changes in pregnancy. A spike in estrogen and progesterone diminishes the immune's ability to fight infections. However, scientists are yet to establish the exact mechanism that impacts the body's defenses during pregnancy.

Behavior change is another factor that increases the risk of oral health problems during pregnancy. Cravings may compel pregnant women to consume unhealthy foods. Sugar and carbohydrates promote plaque and tartar development.

Mood changes can also increase your susceptibility to inflammation. The body's immune system is less effective at protecting the body when a pregnant woman is experiencing mental distress. Dentists encourage patients to develop healthy ways of managing stress to avoid dental issues and promote overall well-being.

Implications of Periodontal Disease During Pregnancy

Inflammation impacts the soft tissues and underlying bone in your oral cavity. It weakens the support for your teeth, increasing your tooth loss risk. Your teeth may fall out, and in some cases may require removal.

When gum inflammation is poorly managed, it quickly progresses to gum disease. Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease that emerges in the later phases of inflammation. Since pregnant women are susceptible to gingivitis, early treatment is essential for ensuring the best pregnancy outcomes.

Research studies indicate a link between periodontal disease and childbirth outcomes. There is a higher chance of low birth weight and premature birth for pregnant women with periodontitis. Parents with oral health issues are more likely to have children with cavities and gum disease. The child will require more oral care during their childhood years. Therefore, addressing oral health during pregnancy is worth it for the mother and the child.

Management and Treatment of Periodontitis During Pregnancy

The process of treating gum inflammation begins with a diagnostic process to establish the extent of the problem. Diagnostic results will inform the treatment plan depending on the specifics of your case.

You can manage most mild cases of gum inflammation with a dental cleaning to remove tartar. The process clears tartar from under the tooth's root where it meets the gum line. Eliminating stubborn deposits will reduce your risk of gum recession and periodontitis.

Our dentist may prescribe oral antibiotics or a medical-grade mouthwash where necessary. We recommend scheduling a visit with our dental team at Jason Widner DMD Family Dentistry if you notice gum disease symptoms. Contact 425-868-0123 to book your consultation today.
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