You’re expecting. You do what you need to do for your and your baby’s health. You take your vitamins, you eat healthfully, you get some exercise, you avoid alcohol and caffeine and sushi. You take care of your mind and body.
Know what else you should take care of? Your mouth!
Why? Because even though you may hear inconsistent information about periodontal disease and risk of preterm labor, it’s important to keep your smile healthy…and keep germs at bay.
So What Do Studies Say?
Some studies have suggested that periodontal disease can increase risk of premature births in pregnant women. It’s believed that the bacteria that cause inflammation in the gums can enter the bloodstream, reach the fetus, and initiate early delivery. Other research suggests that bacteria may trigger the immune system to produce inflammation in the cervix and uterus, causing early labor.
However, a recent study out of Spain indicated the opposite. Researchers did find that gum disease was more prevalent in mothers who gave birth to preterm or low birth weight babies (case group) versus those who gave birth to full term or normal weight babies (control group). However, when researchers tested the bacterial profiles for women in both groups, they found no significant difference between the pregnant women with periodontitis in both groups. The conclusion? Because there was no difference in bacteria between the groups, periodontal bacteria were not a trigger for preterm labor.
Conflicting Info: What Should You Do?
So what’s an expecting mother to do with conflicting information about gum disease and preterm birth?
Simply put: Continue to maintain good oral health. Include seeing your dentist on your to-do list when you learn you are pregnant. If you have periodontal disease, you’ll want to know right away.
Treatment can be as simple as brushing your teeth and flossing more often. Or, you may need a deeper cleaning to remove plaque and tartar near the roots of the teeth. Either way, your dentist can determine the best treatment for you.
And, with Solstice, you have dental coverage you can count on. Our DHMO plans include a unique open access network model, so there are no rosters and no waiting periods for you—and, you can receive your preventive cleanings twice a year at no cost. Our PPO plans include a Prenatal Care Program, where women in the second or third trimester can receive an additional cleaning at no cost.
For more information, visit http://www.solsticebenefits.com/ind/solstice-products.aspx.
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