Lancaster dentist Dr. Matthew Kingston explains how better gum care during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of a premature birth
Smiles and Your Health Topics: Pregnancy and Oral Health
The birth of a new baby is one of the most exciting times in our lives. And hoping for the baby to be healthy is, of course, a major concern for parents. A lot has been written and discussed about things a mother can do to ensure a healthier pregnancy and healthy baby. Some of these include consuming healthy foods, maintaining an active lifestyle with exercise, taking pre-natal supplements, not drinking alcohol and not smoking.
Add one more main consideration to that list. In order to ensure the healthiest baby, studies now suggest another important factor: keeping your gums healthy.
Lancaster dentist Dr. Matthew Kingston of Healthy Smiles Dental, a parent himself, notes that, "Women who have active gum disease are at a much higher risk of delivering pre-term, low birth weight babies." The major culprit is inflammation, due to irritation of the gum tissue. Inflammation causes an increase in C-Reactive Protein (CRP), which is directly correlated to preeclampsia (elevated maternal blood pressure). In turn, preeclampsia can cause premature labor and premature delivery.
But mothers can rest assured that they may be able to help avert these conditions. "There are some steps expecting mothers can take to help reduce their risk of delivering a premature, low birth weight baby," says Dr. Kingston.
- See your dentist during pregnancy. Removing plaque and tartar that irritate the gum tissue will reduce the risk of inflammation.
- Keep up to date with your dental cleanings and examinations so that gum health can be evaluated.
- Ask your dentist if an additional cleaning during pregnancy may be helpful. Often, this is covered by your dental insurance plan.
- Brush and Floss regularly.
"As a parent myself, I realize there are so many factors to consider during pregnancy," says Dr. Kingston. "However, if we can help Lancaster moms have healthier pregnancies and deliver healthier babies, I want to spread the word."