How Your Oral Health Can Affect You & Your Pregnancy
There are many patients who don’t know how important their oral health is to their overall health. Your oral health directly affects the rest of your body. This correlation, referred to as the Oral Systemic Link, has been proven by both dentist and medical doctors. This link shows that a patient’s oral health can correlate with the development of Alzheimer’s, cardiac (heart) disease, stroke, a variety of cancers, and even pregnancy risks.
The Risks Start With Periodontal Disease
Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is the second most common illness among Americans. Accord to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 47.2% of all American adults have periodontal disease, that’s about 64.7 million people. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects a patient’s gum tissue and the bone structure around their teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss in patients. Although, this isn’t the only effect that periodontitis has on patients who suffer from this disease.
The Infection Can Spread Throughout Your Body
The truth is, Periodontitis is an infection, and it has the capability of spreading. Periodontal disease has been found to correlate with so many other systemic diseases is due to its ease of this spreading. In fact, one of the most notorious symptoms of periodontal disease is bleeding gums. These bleeding gums are an open door into the rest of your body for the bacteria that causes periodontitis! Once it enters your blood stream, it is free to wreak havoc.
Could Periodontal Disease Play A Role In Pregnancy Issues?
Fusobacterium nucleatum is a bacteria that originates in the mouth and is most often associated with periodontal disease. Joint studies by the Pathology Department and Dental School of Case Wester Reserve University and Department of Microbiology of Duke University Medical Center found that Fusobacterium nucleatum infections correlated with premature births, as well as stillbirths.
In fact, this bacteria has been isolated in the amniotic fluid, placenta, and chorioamnionic membranes of some women who delivered prematurely. While this is not the case with all premature and still births, it does happen. This is one of the reasons we encourage our pregnant patients to visit their dentist at least once during their pregnancy.
Despite the number of correlations, the connection between periodontal disease and pregnancy risks is not yet general knowledge to a majority of the public. In fact, only about 43% of pregnant women realize that their oral health can play a role in their pregnancy, as well as their baby’s future health. We believe that this should be common knowledge for all patients so that we can limit these risks as much as possible. At Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental, we believe part of our role as your family’s premier dental health providers is to pass on essential news and knowledge to your patients. To learn more about the Oral Systemic Link (and how you can prevent it through consistent oral hygiene) or to schedule a dental appointment, please feel free to contact us today.