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Expecting Mothers Should “Brush Up” on Their Oral Hygiene Routine

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Expecting Mothers and Oral Hygiene

Expecting Mothers Should “Brush Up” on Their Oral Hygiene Routine

December 03, 2007

CHICAGO – With November being National Prematurity Awareness month, two new studies in the November issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) emphasize the importance of expectant mothers taking extra care of their oral health.

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Periodontal disease occurs very slowly, so it is not always noticeable. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Pressure or an itchy feeling in gums and between teeth

  • Gums that bleed during and after brushing

  • Red, swollen or tender gums

  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth

  • Gum recession

  • Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums

  • Loose or shifting teeth

  • Changes in the way teeth fit together when biting, or in the fit of partial dentures

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold food and drink

  • Researchers have long speculated that women with periodontal diseases may have an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. One study of 3,576 Turkish women found that those with periodontal disease were at a greater risk for having a low birth weight and preterm birth babies than those without periodontal disease. In addition, a second study found that nonsurgical treatments for periodontal disease can actually reduce a woman’s risk for delivering preterm.

    “Our study found that treating a woman’s periodontal disease decreased her chances of having her baby early by almost 50 percent,” explained study author Fouzia Tarannum, BDS, M.R. Ambedkar Dental College and Hospital, India. “Our research suggests that treatment of periodontal diseases can help the health of the mother and her baby.”

    “The AAP is dedicated to increasing awareness about the relationship between periodontal diseases and pregnancy,” said Susan Karabin, DDS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology. “Women should be sure to brush and floss daily, and see their dental health professional regularly if possible before and certainly during their pregnancy. Working as a team, the dental professional and expectant mother will be able to help deliver a full-term, healthy and happy baby.”

    Much is being done to help prevent preterm low birth weight births. In honor of National Prematurity Month the AAP has teamed up with the March of Dimes to help support their “Every Baby Has a Story” campaign, aimed at educating expecting mothers about premature births.

    The American Academy of Periodontology is an 8,000-member association of dental professionals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants. Periodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. For more information, contact the AAP Public Affairs Department at 312/573-3242.


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