Pregnancy is a beautiful experience and an exciting season for the soon to be moms. However, it is also a season full of unsolicited advice from your peers, seniors and many other so-called experts on what you should do, eat, wear, how you should sleep and the list goes on and on. The advisors seldom alert you on the importance of good oral hygiene before and during pregnancy.
Yes! Poor oral health can severely impact pregnancy. Having a healthy mouth while you are pregnant enhances the odds of having a healthy pregnancy and delivering a baby in good physical shape. In Singapore, periodontal disease and dental caries are the two most common dental issues and having either can affect your prenatal period or your baby’s health. Some extreme cases of mouth infections can threaten the life of your unborn child.
Here’s how poor oral health can severely impact your pregnancy.
The World Health Organization defines a premature birth as a delivery that happens anywhere before the thirty-seventh week of pregnancy. In late 2015, a report in the Asianparent.com highlighted findings of a research by Professor Victor Samuel Rajadurai of the KKH Hospital which indicated that there was a rise in preterm births in Singapore.
But what do pre-term births have to do with oral health?
Dr Offenbacher and other researchers in the U.S. were the first to link advanced periodontal disease to pre-term births. Their research indicated that mothers with severe gum disease were seven times more likely to have a pre-term delivery. Also, they were at a higher risk of delivering a low birth weight babies and concluded that periodontal disease could be responsible for nearly a fifth of all pre-term births in the U.S. These findings were consistent with subsequent, similar studies in other parts of the world.
In addition to the risk of pre-term birth, gum disease is also associated with preeclampsia. A condition where pregnant mothers experience sharp increases in blood pressure. Preeclampsia affects less than 4 percent of pregnant women in Singapore, and it can be fatal for both the mother and baby. Although researchers also point out that there are few studies linking gum disease and preeclampsia, there’s no need to expose yourself even at the slightest hint of the risk.
A rare and severe type of mouth infection called Ludwig’s angina can also severely affect pregnancy and put both the lives of mother and baby at risk. Although it is rare and often occurs amongst socially underprivileged populations, the disease primarily occurs due to an infection on the mouth’s floor after a tooth infection or other mouth infections.
Doctors have reported cases where they have had to perform emergency caesarean sections to save the life of the mother and baby due to this condition. In other cases, the disease is reported to be the prime causal factor for stillbirths.
These cases, especially the last one, may seem severe and out there. But they happen mainly because of poor oral health and the can severely impact your pregnancy. For the soon to be mothers, the benefits of observing good oral hygiene are transferred to the young ones. You’ll reduce the number of visits to the dentist or need for orthodontic care in Singapore.