The study conducted and published in the Journal of Periodontology revealed that periodontal treatment significantly reduced pre-term or low birth weight risks among infants by 68% especially in women with pregnancy-associated gingivitis.
Why are Pregnant Women in Greater Risk?
Because of the elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone among pregnant women (and those taking oral contraceptive pills), the bacteria found in plaque react differently to the gums and vise versa. This is called pregnancy gingivitis and the sad thing is, it affects 65 to 70% of pregnant women who are in their second month of pregnancy until the ninth month or even before then when the woman gives birth.
Gums that are infected with periodontal disease serves as reservoir of disease-causing bacteria. These bacteria releases toxins that are detrimental to the gums, ligaments and bone surrrounding the teeth. It then produces infected pockets that has access to travel all throughout the pregnant women’s body via the bloodstream.
Prostalandins are then produced to combat the inflammation or infection from the pregnant women’s gums. However, aside from controlling inflammation, prostaglandins are also responsible for smooth muscle contraction. Thus, if a pregnant woman has gum disease, her body produces extra prostaglandins which causes her to go into labor prematurely or deliver a baby which is low in birth weight. That it why it is recommended to have pregnant women receive proper dental care from a periodontist during pregnancy to avoid this scenarios.