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Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Dental and Oral Health Center
Pregnancy and Preventing Gum Disease
I am pregnant with my first child. Someone told me that you need to take better care gums. What do I need to do to be sure my baby is ok.
You are asking a wonderful question! We have learned so much in the past few years from our research about how important it is to have healthy gums to help protect your baby. Infected gums can lead to babies being born too early because the bacteria causing the infection are transferred from mother to the unborn child. If this happens, the baby can be born too without the benefit of all the time they need to develop before they are born. The most important thing that you can do is to stay healthy. When you are healthy, your body is so much better at fighting off infections, including gum disease. You can stop an infection before it even has a chance to take hold. That is your first and most important line of defense to protect yourself and prevent an infection of bacteria from taking hold and being transferred to your baby.
The second important thing is to see a dentist and have a thorough examination to see if you have any gum disease or other dental issues. One thing, in particular your dentist will be looking for is whether your gums are sensitive and bleed easily which is often a sign of infection. This can indicate that the bacteria causing the infection can get into your bloodstream and be passed on to your baby. If you have gum disease your doctor will clean your teeth and set up the best plan for cleanings through your pregnancy.
Yiping Han, PhD
Professor of Periodontics
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University