How Are Periodontal Disease and Preterm Labor Related?

Is There Really a Link Between Periodontal Disease and Preterm Labor?


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Introduction

Linked to heart disease, heart attack, arthritis[i], and even stroke, Periodontal disease is a serious medical issue for years back. Periodontal disease is the term that is being used to describe an infectious disease of the teeth and the connective tissue that surrounds the teeth, mainly focusing on the alveolar bone of the teeth and the gums. Caused by various microorganisms, Periodontal disease is truly a diagnosis that you want to keep away from. Especially when you are currently in the middle of those wonderful nine months of your pregnancy.

Any women that are a mother-to-be wants only the best for her child. So she takes her prenatal vitamins, watches over her diet, stays away from any alcohol and visits her OB at their scheduled check-ups. And that is the path towards a healthy pregnancy, a pregnancy that will result in a chubby, smiling baby that you will get to hold in your hands at the end. That is why, any mother would want to keep the Periodontal disease as far as possible from her and her baby, excluding any possibility of getting affected by it. But, why exactly? What does the Periodontal disease threaten to do to you and your baby’s health? Find out more in the following article. And we guarantee you that you will get all the required information on the topic and even more so that you will be able to protect your little one the best way that you know.

What is there to know about the Periodontal disease?

As we mentioned earlier in the introduction of today’s article, the term Periodontal disease, also Periodontitis and gum disease, is a term that refers to the infectious disease that affects both our teeth and our gums. But how does that happen, you ask? At every moment, there are bacteria that are living in our mouth. The bacteria along with the mucus that is produced on a daily level produce the characteristic plaque that covers our teeth. The plaque is recommended to be removed after each meal, but do you know why? The answer is simple – if the plaque is not removed regularly, a hard substance known as tartar is formed which covers the teeth and it is a lot harder to be removed by simply using toothpaste and toothbrush. The tartar, if not removed leads to the development of gingivitis – a condition that causes symptoms such as inflammation, bleeding, and tenderness of the gums to develop. If gingivitis is not treated right away it will follow the development of the Periodontal disease. The Periodontal disease causes our gums to be inflamed and the tooth enamel to break down, eventually causing our teeth to become loose and to fall out easily. But these are not the only reasons why it is essential for it to be treated. The Periodontal disease brings huge risks such as the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and preterm labor. The causes of Periodontal disease are unfortunately not known however we are aware of some risk factors of which smoking, poor oral hygiene, and diabetes are far the greatest ones. The treatment of Periodontitis is not difficult, so the only thing that you need to be doing in a case like this is to ask for help as soon as possible so that not only would you get rid of all the symptoms, but also, get rid of all the risks that the Periodontal disease brings into your life.

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The link between the Periodontal disease and preterm labor

Being a destructive inflammatory disease as it is, the Periodontal disease has been scientifically proven to cause a number of medical issues among the patients diagnosed with this disease. Diabetes[ii], arthritis, and heart disease are three of the most common diseases linked to the development of the Periodontal disease. But, it turns out that the Periodontal disease does not only attack adults – it attacks innocent, little babies before they are even born. It does so, by attacking their mother first. Whenever there is an opportunity for a bacterial infection to develop in the mouth, it does and so the Periodontal disease develops. It has been suggested that the Periodontal disease causes preterm labor and it was only a suggestion until it was scientifically proven a few years back. A research [iii]done in 2010 discussed the link between the Periodontal disease and preterm labor through the increased production of cytokines, which are inflammatory proteins, blamed for the present inflammation that has developed as a result to the Periodontal disease. The researchers that worked on this study were able to scientifically prove this link and not only that – they were also able to find out that Periodontal disease is also linked [iv]to low-birth-weight babies as well. Since Periodontal disease clearly is a risk factor[v] for preterm birth, and as it turns out for low-birth-weight babies as well, certain steps towards prevention of the Periodontal disease must be taken. The prevention of Periodontitis does not require a lot of effort and time, but it does promise to keep the Periodontitis symptoms as far away as possible from you. The prevention of Periodontitis consists of a few steps. The first step is always – informing the patient of the risks that might occur as a result of the Periodontal disease. Then, of course, the patient must be warned to take a very good care of her oral health, which means washing and flossing their teeth on a daily basis after each meal. Taking a good care of your oral health includes getting regular check-ups at the dentist’s office, which are vital to be performed every three months but are of a special importance in the nine months of pregnancy. And last but not least – we must recommend to the patient to report any dental health problems, especially the symptoms of the Periodontal disease, to her dentist so that this disease can be as quickly as possible solved.

Conclusion

Preterm labor brings a lot of risks into the baby’s life and no mother would want any of those risks for her baby. Unfortunately, a lot of things can cause a preterm labor to happen. One of those things is Periodontal disease, which is an inflammatory disease of the teeth and all of the connective tissue around. Caused mainly by poor oral hygiene, smoking, and diabetes, the Periodontal disease is essential to be treated as soon as possible, having all of the risks that it brings to mind. It has been scientifically proven that the Periodontal disease is a clear risk factor for both preterm labor and low-weight-birth babies. Both preterm labor and low birth weight are dangerous to the baby’s life. Unfortunately, this occurrence is more common than we would like it to be. That is why it is essential to take really good care of our oral health especially in these nine months of pregnancy, just to make sure that any trace of Periodontal disease is as far as possible away from us! In this process the main subjects are the mother, herself, her dentist and her gynecologist who need to work closely together in order to educate the mother of all the possible risks to her and her baby’s life during the nine months of pregnancy, including the risk of Periodontal disease and what is there to be done in order to reduce these risks to a minimum.

References

[i] Clifton O.B, Malini M, Periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis: the evidence accumulates for complex pathobiologic interactions. Current Opinion in Rheumatology, 2013
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4495574/

[ii] P.M.Preshaw, A.L.Alba, D.Herrera, S.Jepsen, A.Kostantinidis, K.Makrilakis, R.Taylor, Periodontitis and diabetes: a two-way relationship. Diabetologia, 2011
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3228943/

[iii] Rajiv S, Santosh S, Sugandha R.S, Periodontitis: A risk for delivery of premature labor and low-birth-weight infants. Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, 2010
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217279/

[iv] Moneet V, Navdeep S, Relationship between periodontal diseases and preterm birth: Recent epidemiological and biological data. Inetrnational Journal of Applied Basic Medical Research, 2015
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4318095/

[v] Jyoti I.P, Veeresh M.N, Subramaniam M.R, Evaluation of periodontitis as a risk for preterm birth among preeclamptic and non-preeclamptic pregnant women – a case control study. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, 2013
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3782968/

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