Study: Risks of premature birth can be reduced by good oral care

New Delhi: Pregnant women with gingivitis are significantly more likely to have premature deliveries, according to the findings of a new study.

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They go through many uncomfortable health issues as the months go by. During this phase, they are also highly susceptible to gingivitis, which can induce poor pregnancy outcomes.

Gingivitis is referred to as an inflammation of the gums that is caused when plaque accumulates in the opening between the teeth and the gum. If untreated, this can lead to the accumulation of bacteria, which in turn can cause loss of bone around the teeth and may eventually lead to tooth decay and tooth loss.

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A recent report published by the University of Sydney highlights the impact Gingivitis can have on pregnant women. It mentions that oral infection can have systemic effects on the body. Gingivitis releases inflammatory markers and bacteria into the systemic bloodstream, which may reach the placenta. This can result in various complications and can even lead to preterm delivery.

Dr Mohendar Narula, Founder and Chairman, MyDentalPlan Healthcare Pvt. Ltd says, “During pregnancy, oral hygiene is an important factor, however, many women find it difficult to maintain good oral health. Almost 70 percent of women in India suffer from gum problems during pregnancy. Out of all the oral problems, pregnancy gingivitis can cause numerous systemic disorders such as gestational diabetes, heart, kidney diseases. Maintaining good oral hygiene at all times can help prevent pregnancy gingivitis. Another aspect to keep in mind is that timely intervention is the key to treating this and ensures smooth pregnancy”.

Gingivitis is also triggered by the hormonal imbalance and if proper treatment for it is not administered, it can cause pre-eclampsia (extremely high blood pressure), gum tissue ulcers, pregnancy granuloma, pregnancy tumours, loose teeth, dry mouth, and even dental erosions in mothers.

While it can cause harm to the expecting mother but it can even increase the chances of miscarriages, premature deliveries, and babies with low birth weight. Premature babies are said to have a higher risk of having brain injuries, eyesight, hearing, and other developmental deformities.

As a part of the study, researchers examined the pregnancies and oral health of almost 1,000 women. The group was given supragingival and subgingival scaling by instrumentation. They were also made aware of the best practices to maintain oral hygiene.

The report highlights that women who received treatment for pregnancy gingivitis had a statistically significant reduced risk for preterm birth and they also saw statistically significant higher birth weight.

Most dentists advise pregnant women to use extra-soft toothbrushes and alcohol-free or salt rinses. It is also recommended that expecting mothers should go for teeth cleaning during their second trimester.

Pregnant women need to be more vigilant about their overall health and oral health is an important part of it. In case of any discomfiture or discomfort, they should not shy away from visiting a dentist and follow their advice.

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