Pregnancy is an exciting time in the life of any family. Yet with all of the excitement comes the responsibility of seeking appropriate prenatal care to help ensure the health and safety of both mom and baby. If you’re an expectant mother, than your time is no doubt filled with trips to your obstetrician, visits with an ultrasound technician, and the occasional stop by the hospital for lab work. Plus, there’s also the very important visit to a periodontist in Winston Salem, NC

Wait, you weren’t aware that gum disease can lead to problems with your pregnancy? If you’re like most, then probably not. That’s because we all believe that gum disease only affects our teeth. Yet recent research has begun to establish a link between gum and periodontal disease in expectant mothers and certain pregnancy issues.

Increased Risks of Premature Labor and Low Birth Weight

The reason behind this connection is the risk of infection that gum disease presents. Some of the bacterial agents associated with periodontal problems have been known to enter the blood stream, where they can then travel in the body to the fetus. Specifically, the endotoxins produced by bacteria can stimulate increased production of prostaglandins and cytokines. High concentrations of these lipids and proteins are believed to cause the rupture of uterine membranes, which can ultimately lead to premature labor and result in conditions such as low birth weight or even mental retardation.

Recommended Oral Care During Pregnancy

Given these risks, it’s recommended that you, as an expectant mother, adopt the following oral care practices during your pregnancy:

 ·         Limit your sugar intake
 ·         Use fluoridated toothpaste
 ·         Avoid sharing food and eating utensils with others
 ·         Chew xylitol gum daily

September has been officially designated as National Gum Care Month. With that in mind, now is the time to learn all that you can about how gum disease can potentially affect your life as well as that of your unborn baby. However, even if you’ve begun to exhibit signs of gum disease, all is not lost. A visit with Dr. Peavy can get you the treatment needed to help avoid pregnancy complications. What are you waiting for? Call and schedule an appointment with us today.