Brisbane dentist highlights importance of oral health during pregnancy

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Brisbane dentist highlights importance of oral health during pregnancy

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The importance of oral health during pregnancy has an increased impact not only on the health of the mother, but on her unborn child too. (Photograph: HBRH/Shutterstock)

Tue. 30. October 2018

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BRISBANE, Australia: Pregnancy is a unique experience in a woman’s life; however, it may significantly affect her own and her child’s oral health. Studies have shown that links exist between poor oral health and low birth weight or premature birth. According to a Brisbane dentist, as pregnancy is associated with compromised oral health due to hormonal effects, expectant mothers should be warned that poor oral health during pregnancy can adversely affect their infants’ health.

Dr Ellie Nadian, who is a general dental practitioner and runs Pure Dentistry, a practice in Brisbane, believes that pregnant woman should receive specific information for the management of changes in their oral health conditions during pregnancy. During the phases of pregnancy, a woman undergoes many hormonal changes in the body and because of these, dental and gingival deterioration may be rapid. For this reason, Nadian also highlights the particular importance of having good oral health prior to conception.

With various pregnancy-induced growth factors, such as a change in the physiological condition and female hormones, there can be an increase in the activity of bacteria in the oral cavity and increased risks to a pregnant woman’s oral health. In a study of pregnant Japanese women, researchers reported that oral bacteria significantly increase in the early pregnancy period. Therefore, pregnancy, especially in the early stages, can promote the proliferation of bacteria in the oral cavity and facilitate colonisation by periodontal pathogens. However, according to the results of a separate study, proper oral hygiene during pregnancy can partially neutralise hormonal effects on oral tissue.

According to American guidelines on oral health during pregnancy and early childhood, preventative dental care should be provided as early in pregnancy as possible. In a study by scientists at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in Boston in the US, that may help highlight the importance of good oral health during pregnancy. These researchers studied 1,635 pregnant women regarding periodontitis and its relation to preterm birth. According to the results, periodontitis is an independent risk factor for poor pregnancy outcomes among some women.

Editorial note: The references can be obtained from Dr Ellie Nadian.

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