Periodontitis in pregnancy - Triggers of premature births?

Pregnancy is a turning point in the life of every woman. This exciting time demands a lot from the female body - especially from the teeth.

Instead of thinking only about building the nest, I would like to invite you to think about yourself. Listen to what is good for you - and what is not. Because what is good for you is definitely good for your child! Take care of yourself - optimized oral hygiene is part of this.

Because the immune defense of the expectant mother is shut down. This is part of the perfect biological program. But this also brings with it an increased susceptibility to inflammation. In addition, there is a loosening of the connective tissue and a general increase in blood flow to the tissue. Pregnant women also appear radiantly beautiful for this reason. They embody pulsating life.

What is less beautiful is that it is precisely for these aforementioned reasons that women in pregnancy have to struggle with increased bleeding gums, known as gingivitis. In addition, the increased estrogen level in blood and saliva stimulates the growth of bacteria that promote periodontitis.

Nature has provided a clever self-help mechanism for this: the pregnant body produces more of the hormone cortisol. It has an anti-inflammatory effect, which in principle suppresses the symptoms of periodontitis without, however, stopping the disease. The cortisone level is increased to provide more glucose, which results in an increase in blood sugar: this in turn increases inflammation. At the same time, the cortisone suppresses the immune system. It is this temporary suppression of symptoms during pregnancy that causes periodontal disease to become all the more severe afterwards.

Dental care deserves the highest attention during pregnancy

This previously described protective mechanism of the body provides evidence that periodontitis during pregnancy is detrimental to the child, precisely because the body seeks to avoid it with its methodology.

For example, a study conducted by the International Association for Dental Research in Washington, D.C., actually showed a more than threefold higher rate of premature births in women with periodontal disease compared to dentally healthy women (23.4%. vs. 7.2%). In individual cases, an enzyme test for metalloproteinases (aMMP8) should therefore definitely be considered. It provides information as to whether periodontal therapy is advisable during pregnancy in order to reduce a possible risk of preterm birth. Depending on the results, periodontal therapy can also be postponed until after pregnancy.

I advise my pregnant patients to visit their dental hygienist more closely during this time and to pay special attention to their daily oral hygiene in order to counteract the occurrence of inflammation.

Today's modern lifestyle takes little account of the needs of pregnant women. Many women, especially those who lack family support, feel sheer overwhelm.

But it is precisely because you need to be particularly efficient with your strength: Take the time for optimized dental care and oral hygiene!

Do you have any questions? Then write to me!
I am happy to answer your questions.

Yours, Lorenza Dahm

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