When a woman becomes pregnant, she knows it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure both her own health and the health of her baby. It is important for pregnant women to maintain periodontal health as well. Research has indicated that women with periodontal disease may be at risk of giving birth to a pre-term or low-birth weight baby. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), babies with a birth weight of less than 5.5 pounds may be at risk of long-term health problems such as delayed motor skills, social growth, or learning disabilities. Other issues associated with pre-term birth include respiratory problems, vision and hearing loss, or feeding and digestive problems.
Periodontal disease attacks the gum tissue and in more severe cases, the bone supporting the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, can lead to tooth loss and has been associated with other systemic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Tenderness, redness, or swollen gums are a few indications of periodontal disease. Other symptoms include gums that bleed with toothbrushing or eating, gums that are pulling away from the teeth, bad breath, and loose teeth. These signs, especially during pregnancy, should not be ignored. They require treatment from a dental professional.
The medical and dental communities concur that maintaining periodontal health is an important part of a healthy pregnancy.
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