As a La Junta, Colorado dentist, our team at Dental Depot strives to protect the oral health of our patients. For patients to enjoy quality oral health, it’s important they understand the risks they face on a daily basis. This is especially true for women who are pregnant.
In recent years, a lot of research has delved into the impact pregnancy has on a woman’s oral health. Due to the constant fluctuation in hormones, pregnant woman already have a significant risk of “pregnancy gingivitis” that can linger well past delivery. This can threaten the long-term oral health of many women who may not even realize the risks they face due to being pregnant.
Now a new study titled “Gingivitis During the First/Second Trimesters of Pregnancy” has provided further examination into this critical area of study.
The investigation – conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham – evaluated the impact of gestational age, study site, and demographic factors on a woman’s first and second trimester pregnancy gingivitis using baseline stats from a large multicenter study. Screening was used to identify pregnant women between 8 to 24 weeks who suffered from significant gum bleeding due to gingivitis.
Trained oral health examiners measured whole mouth gingivitis scores up to 168 points using a standard 4-poing clinical index, and sites along the gum line where bleeding occurred were counted individually in each subject. Using baseline values, regression analysis was used to determine the natural history of gum inflammation due to gingivitis during the last first trimester through the second trimester of pregnancy.
The study screened 817 women. Baseline gingivitis measurements were collected on 746 women, and 666 evaluable women with a significant number of gum bleeding sites were included in the baseline analysis. The average gestational age at gingivitis examination was just over 17 weeks, while the mother’s average age was 27.8 years, ranging from 18 to 46 years-old overall in the study.
The average number of inflammation sites was 51.2, ranging from 30 to 144. From the regression analysis, study site and maternal age were found to be significant factors in gum bleeding. Centers differed by 4.0 gum inflammation and younger women presented with higher measured inflammation rates. Gestational age and ethnicity were not significant factors in the frequency of gum bleeding during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.
Clinical examination of over 600 pregnant women showed moderate to severe gingivitis to be common, well established and consistent during the last first and second trimester. These findings led researchers to suggest that regular dental care prior to and during pregnancy may be critical for expectant mothers to maintain their oral health.
Protecting Your Oral Health During Pregnancy
Not only does gingivitis impact a woman’s health during pregnancy, it can also negatively affect pregnancy as well. Studies have found that women who suffer from gum disease have a higher risk of pregnancy complications that range from early delivery to low birth rate. To lower these risks, it’s imperative that pregnant women maintain their oral health.
The first step toward maintaining your oral health during pregnancy is scheduling regular dental appointments with your La Junta, Colorado dentist. Regular exams allow our team to determine the current state of your oral health and spot any signs of gingivitis early on. Only through prevention can a woman’s oral health be protected during this delicate time.