A new study suggests pregnant women’s oral health can have a significant impact on the baby’s health.
Pregnant women can experience gingivitis and mild to severe gingival enlargement as well as pregnancy tumours.
Although bleeding and inflammation of the gums has been noted in all trimesters of pregnancy, it typically disappears three to six months after delivery, provided that proper oral hygiene measures are implemented.
Pregnancy tumours, which are not cancerous, appear as a growth in the mouth and usually disappear after the child is born.
They typically are painless and purple or red in colour, but they can exhibit spontaneous bleeding. Robert Roesch, a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, said: ‘Pregnancy gingivitis and gingival enlargement are thought to be the result of a heightened response to bacteria in the mouth.
‘That’s why it is extremely important to educate and motivate patients to maintain good oral hygiene during pregnancy.’
In January 2010, the first-ever documented link between foetal death and a mother’s pregnancy-related gum was reported.
A 35-year-old woman delivered a full-term stillborn baby who, during pregnancy, experienced severe gum bleeding, a symptom of pregnancy-related gingivitis. The article explains that bleeding in the gums allows bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and potentially infect a foetus.
Pregnant women should maintain their regular, semi-annual checkups and consult a dentist if they notice any changes in their oral health.
The article is published in the November/December 2010 issue of General Dentistry.