The mouth is often referred to as the “gateway to the body” and the “mirror of health” because it says so much about a person’s overall health. In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement emphasizing that maintaining a healthy mouth can reduce the risk of wider health problems. Various studies have shown that good oral health is especially important for pregnant women. Dental and gum care is important at every stage of life. The 2019 Journal of Dental Research states that periodontal disease – a severe form of gingivitis that usually develops from milder gingivitis – is associated with more than 50 conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. The journal mentions other aspects for pregnant women that suggest a link between periodontitis and negative pregnancy outcomes, such as low birth weight, premature birth or excessive maternal blood pressure (preeclampsia).
Reduction of preterm birth and systemic inflammation
A randomized, controlled pilot study from the USA, which involved 67 pregnant women with periodontal disease, supports the thesis. During pregnancy, participants underwent non-surgical peeling and planing of the roots (deep brushing of teeth) and at the same time received a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush for home use. Preliminary results suggest a 3.8-fold reduction in preterm birth and a reduction in various molecular markers of systemic (whole-body) inflammation.
60 to 75 percent are affected by gestational gingivitis
Starting a pregnancy with healthy teeth and gums is a great benefit. Women should also be wary of deteriorating oral health during pregnancy. This is because hormonal changes can lead to dry mouth, which in turn leads to a change in the buffering capacity of saliva, which promotes the spread of plaque biofilm. This leads to increased gingivitis, as well as changes in the tissue of the oral mucosa. This so-called “pregnancy gingivitis” has been shown to affect 60 to 75 percent of pregnant women. In some cases, it can progress to periodontitis, which increases the risk of adverse pregnancies and other health problems. ” It is all the more important to maintain and carefully monitor the health of the oral cavity.
Measures to maintain oral health
Dentists say that thorough teeth cleaning for two minutes twice a day and regular dental check-ups are the best ways to combat plaque build-up and prevent pregnancy gingivitis.⁵ However, there are other ways to maintain good oral health, such as regular use. Using dental floss or switching from a manual toothbrush to an electric model. Pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness should also rinse their mouths with water after vomiting and then wait at least an hour before brushing their teeth.⁶ The low pH value in the mouth caused by acid reflux attacks the enamel surface. This can cause abrasion of the enamel and dentin with immediate brush cleaning, while rinsing with water immediately dilutes the acid, raises the pH and neutralizes.
More information at: https://www.philips.de/ce/pe/dental-professionals/zahnmedizin-indikation/oral-and-overall-health and: www.philips.com/hebammen
¹ Beck JD, Papapanou PN, Philips KH, Offenbacher S. Periodontal medicine: 100 years of progress. J Dent Res. September 2019; 98 (10): 1053-1062. doi: 10.1177 / 0022034519846113. PMID: 31429666.
Enbach Offenbacher S, Lin D, Strauss R, McKaig R, Irving J, Barros SP, Moss K, Barrow DA, Hefti A, Beck JD. Influence of periodontal therapy during pregnancy on periodontal status, biological parameters and pregnancy outcomes: a pilot study. J Periodontol. December 2006; 77 (12): 2011-24. doi: 10.1902 / jop.2006.060047. PMID: 17209786
Berg Steinberg BJ. Women’s oral health problems. J Dent Educ. 1999; 63 (3): 271-275.
Z Sanz M, Kornman K; working group 3 of the joint EFP / AAP workshop. Periodontitis and adverse pregnancy outcomes: a consensus report from the EFP / AAP joint workshop on periodontitis and systemic diseases. J Periodontol. 2013; 84 (4 Suppl): S164-S169. doi: 10.1902 / jop.2013.1340016