Monday, January 25, 2010

The links between oral health and general health continue to develop

     Dentists and physicians have long suspected a link between gum disease and a host of pregnancy complications including premature delivery, low birth weight and spontaneous abortion. The link has been difficult to study because even healthy pregnant women may experience bleeding and inflamed gums (also known as pregnancy gingivitis), and this by itself  is not a risk to the infant. The concern is that a woman with untreated periodontal disease who becomes pregnant risks passing those bacteria to the fetus.
     A recent case in Ohio is the first clinical example of the mother's oral bacteria being cultured from the lungs and placenta of her stillborn infant.

This article summerizes the findings to be published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology
    The best defense against this risk is for women to make sure that any periodontal/gum issues be identified and treated before becoming pregnant, and that they maintain a regular schedule of preventive dental cleanings throughout the pregnancy.