Dental Facts For Pregnant Women ( part two )
During pregnancy, the hormonal changes that your body is undergoing presents itself in many parts of the body including gum tissue. It is common for your gums to become very swollen and inflamed. Bleeding from the gums can easily happen because the inflamed gum tissue is very thin and fragile. This occurs in a majority of pregnant women and can be alarming in severe cases. If you didn’t follow my advice in my last blog, you may want to revisit it after learning about the possible consequences of poor oral hygiene during pregnancy.
The easiest way for bacteria to enter directly into your bloodstream is through the gum tissue. Your gums are typically very thin yet very vascular at the same time. There are many small blood vessels very close to the surface. This is especially the case when you are pregnant! That is why during pregnancy you are at greater risk of allowing bacteria to enter your bloodstream. This can be harmful to both yourself and to your baby.
This bacteria in the blood can affect you in three ways.
- The bacteria can cause a very serious infection in the blood known as septicemia that is potentially fatal for both mother and baby.
- The bacteria can lead to an increase in blood pressure which is detrimental to both mother and baby. Later in the pregnancy, it can lead to pre-eclampsia which affects 5-8 % of pregnant women. Pre-eclampsia and other blood pressure related disorders are leading causes of both maternal and infant death.
- Recent studies show that poor dental health can lead to the release of hormone-like substances called prostoglandins which can lead to premature labour. This, in turn, leads to low birth weight and a host of other undesirable effects of premature delivery.
Excellent oral hygiene is so important for the health of your teeth and gums, and is equally important for your overall well-being. This is especially true during pregnancy when your gums are particularly fragile and more likely to allow bacteria to penetrate into the bloodstream. There aren’t any reliable statistics to demonstrate how frequently this occurs, but prevention is always the key to good health!
Dr. Brian Kaplansky (Mississauga Dentist)