The Pregnancy & Periodontal Disease Connection

WILLIAMSPORT, COLLEGEVILLE AND PHILADELPHIA, PA – Women often keep closer track of their diet, weight and activity levels when they’re pregnant.

Dr. David DiGiallorenzo, a Williamsport, Pennsylvania dental implants expert, says there is something else that you should pay particular attention to if you are pregnant: your periodontal health.

“Obviously, it should be a priority for everyone all the time, but it is of particular importance to women who are pregnant,” says Dr. DiGiallorenzo, a Williamsport, Pennsylvania periodontist.

There is an abundance of evidence that periodontal disease in pregnant women can lead to premature, low birthweight babies and an increased likelihood of their children battling tooth decay, says Dr. DiGiallorenzo, a Williamsport, Pennsylvania periodontist. Some studies have shown that children of mothers who have untreated tooth decay were four times more likely to experience tooth decay, when compared to children of other mothers.

Studies also have shown that women with gum disease while pregnant are seven times more likely to give birth prematurely to low birth weight babies, according to information posted on the American Academy of Periodontology’s website.

However, if you are pregnant and seek treatment for your periodontal disease, you can lessen your likelihood of birthing pre-term or low birth weight babies.

Nearly half of women experience pregnancy gingivitis, the AAP site states, which can be uncomfortable and result in swollen gums. Other signs of gingivitis include bleeding, tenderness and redness in the gum tissue.

If allowed to progress into periodontal disease, your baby’s health could be affected.

Treating your periodontal disease while pregnant can be simple and virtually painless. Dr. DiGiallorenzo and the other Collegeville and Williamsport, Pennsylvania periodontists in our practice offer treatment via a procedure known as LANAP. LANAP stands for “laser assisted new attachment procedure,” and it enables our doctors to treat diseased gum tissue without cutting and suturing.

The LANAP is used to delicately pass between your gum line and your teeth to remove disease and leave healthy tissue in its place. LANAP employs a fiberoptic that is comparable to about three human hairs in size. The process uses ultrasonic root debridement to clean root surfaces, followed by a different laser setting to clot the blood so we gets a good seal, thus eliminating the need to use sutures.

“We have been using LANAP in our Pennsylvania periodontics practice for several years now with phenomenal results,” Dr. DiGiallorenzo says. “Patients are amazed at how painless and simple the procedure is.”

Getting back to the issue of premature births, the March of Dimes reports that they have become the leading obstetric issue in the U.S. today.

The March of Dimes recommends a variety of steps to help prevent premature births, and many of these measures also promote better periodontal health as well:

  • Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid before and in the early months of pregnancy.
  • Quit using tobacco products.
  • Participate in routine prenatal care.
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with enough calories, and gain enough weight during the pregnancy.

© Dr. David DiGiallorenzo.