You’re probably asking yourself why does my smile (or mouth) have anything to do with my pregnancy and why is my dentist offering advice?
Do you remember the old ditty “my knee bone is connected to my hip bone” well for some reason it has taken healthcare providers thousands of years to make a link between oral disease and the rest of the body, including an unborn baby.
There is now a mountain of evidence that links untreated gum disease to pretty much every systemic disease in the body, as well as many of the complications that a baby may experience in-utero and upon birth. Put simply, the blood that travels through your gums is the same blood that travels through every organ, it takes about one minute for blood to make the round trip through your body. Now imagine that toxins in your gums from bacterial plaque and gum disease is like pollution in a river, as the water flows past the polluted point it will carry the pollution down stream from then on, the same happens with blood and toxins in the body. Gum disease is now linked to everything from heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, inflammatory disorders, low birth weight births, still births and the list goes on. But wait, it is not just gum disease that matters.
Dr Rick from Oasis Dental and his wife spent 4 years undergoing IVF in an attempt to get pregnant. 12 cycles of assisted fertility later and they now have two healthy identical twin boys. During the IVF process it was surprising to him that never once was his wife counselled on the importance of oral health and the effects and risks it can pose to the pregnancy.
During your pregnancy is not the time to have to have dental treatment performed. Visiting the dentist can be stressful, local anaesthetic is often required and laying on your back during an appointment won’t be fun. Since most problems in the mouth are preventable and in early stages restorable, it is suggested that you make sure your mouth and teeth are as healthy prior to falling pregnant so you don’t end up wondering if emergency dental treatment or gum disease was the cause of any complication.
If you are thinking of starting a family, or adding to one you already have, please be proactive and ask your dentist to perform a thorough check of your mouth.