We all know that overall oral health is the gateway to the health of our entire bodies, but paying attention to what the mouth is telling us may be extra important for pregnant women. Gum disease in women can increase the possibility for a preterm birth, according to new research from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. One can detect this issue by noticing if they are experiencing bad breath.
During pregnancy, there are many parts of a woman's body that changes and that includes the gums. The study, which was published in the Journal of Periodontology in December 2012, found that women who went through a treatment to clean their gums were at a lower risk of preterm delivery. Gum disease has also been linked to infertility and other issues with pregnancy.
"Even those with good oral health will experience changes throughout pregnancy. Some women will find their gums will bleed more easily, a problem made worse if you are already suffering from gum disease," Nigel Carter, the Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said.
Recent research at the University of Helsinki found that the hormone estrogen plays a role in the possibility of gum disease in pregnant women. Karen Coates, a dental advisor at the British Dental Health Foundation, noted that this finding could help expecting mothers improve their oral health tailored to their situation and prevent gum disease.
Prevent gum disease at home
To maintain a healthy mouth and gums, it's important to stay on track with a regimen of brushing, flossing and rinsing the mouth. Flossing is especially important for gum disease because it gets rid of food particles left behind in the crevices that toothbrushes cannot reach. Keeping the mouth fresh and clean also helps remedy bad breath, which is a common side effect of gum disease. If you are experiencing persistent bad breath, there is a chance you're suffering from gum disease. This issue, if gone untreated, could lead to other issues like diabetes and heart disease.