Gum Disease & Birth Defects

What is Gum Disease?

The short answer: Gum disease is a common gum infection that can become very problematic, but you can prevent it!

The long answer: all the tissues in your body have a self-defense mechanism called “inflammation.” When bacteria build up in your mouth, your gum tissue will inflame to try and kill it. Gum inflammation is called gingivitis and looks like red, soft, and sore gum tissue.

Over time, gingivitis can lead to more troublesome gum disease (called periodontitis) that can grow even deeper and start to harm the bones of your teeth and jaw. Severe gum disease can wreak havoc in your mouth. Pregnant women need to be especially careful because gum disease is linked with pre-term births and babies with low birth weight.

Every mom and mom-to-be wants the best start for their baby on their journey into parenthood. Read on from The Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry to learn more about gum disease and pregnancy.

Gum Disease, Pregnancy, and Birth Defects

Here are the facts:

  • Up to 75% of pregnant women get gingivitis. About 50% of those women will see it worsen during pregnancy.
  • Hormonal changes and diabetes – conditions common to pregnancy – can increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Studies show higher maternal age and lower socioeconomic status are both risk factors for gum disease during pregnancy.
  • Though we don’t yet fully understand the reasons, gum disease is proven to increase your risk of preterm birth and having a baby with low birth weight.

Why is this important?

Babies born weighing less than 5.5 pounds have an increased risk of slower development (physically, socially, emotionally) for the rest of their lives. Babies born too early can have those same complications as well as problems with their vision, breathing, hearing, and digestion. Talk with your doctor to learn more about preterm birth and low birth weight.

How You Can Prevent Gum Disease

There’s no hall pass for brushing your teeth while pregnant. Preventative oral health care (brushing, flossing, professional dental cleanings) is both safe and necessary, especially for pregnant women. Not to mention your pregnancy cravings may have you enjoying an extra sweet treat or two these days – ice cream for breakfast, anyone?

Stay ahead of the game and prevent gum disease by eating tooth-friendly foods and keeping your mouth clean. If gingivitis crops up, don’t hesitate to get a professional cleaning at the dentist. You can also ask for prescription-strength mouthwash if you need the extra help.

Talk with both your primary doctor and your dentist about your overall health, including the state of your gums. If you’re looking for a Destin or Panama Beach dentist, we’d love to care for you during this special time. Call us today to make an appointment!

Sources

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/life-stages/oral-care-during-pregnancy

http://journals.lww.com/mcnjournal/Abstract/2008/01000/Maternal_Periodontal_Disease,_Pregnancy,_and.12.aspx

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0528.2006.00363.x/abstract

https://www.perio.org/consumer/AAP_EFP_Pregnancy

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/0415/p1139.html

Dr. Dennis Lichorwic, DMD was born in Cleveland, Ohio, received his Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University, his dental degree from the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry, and is a graduate of the world renowned Dawson Academy for Advanced Dental Studies. Dr. Lichorwic’s passion is improving smiles with conservative cosmetic procedures. He believes a beautiful smile is an important social asset, as it can increase confidence and have a positive impact on overall appearance and personality. Dr. Dennis Lichorwic is the President and founder of The Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry. He is a sustaining member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, which is recognized as the premiere association for cosmetic dentistry in the world. He has served as the President of the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry where he continues to serve on the board. Dr. Lichorwic is a 2010 Graduate of the Comprehensive Implant Residency Program in Birmingham, Alabama. lichorwic and wifeDr. Lichorwic lectures throughout the country helping other dentists improve their skills in the areas of cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, and Invisalign®. His work has been published in national dental magazines and he’s won several national and state-wide awards for his beautiful, natural smiles. The practice has been featured in such magazines as Inc. magazine and Florida Trend for its quality, innovation, and success.

Posted in Dental Health

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