Gum Disease, Systemic links and Pregnancy

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There are two types of gum disease; they are called gingivitis and periodontitis. These are infections of the mouth caused by bacteria. The mouth contains the highest amount of bacteria in the body; hundreds of different types thrive in its environment. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the UK.
The bacteria in the mouth travel throughout the body via inhalation, ingestion and circulation causing adverse effects to it.
Signs and Symptoms of gum disease:
Bleeding
Redness
Swelling
Loose teeth
Drifting to a different position
Gum recession
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Foul Taste in mouth
Occasionally Discomfort
Symptomless
Pregnancy
It is now known that during pregnancy the foetus is exposed naturally to the mother’s immune system.
Pregnancy gingivitis is a common condition associated with expecting mothers and resolves itself post pregnancy. However if gum disease is present prior to pregnancy the condition worsens due to the increased hormones.
Bacteria involved in gum disease are able to cross the placenta to the foetus and stimulate preterm labour and low birth weight babies.
It can also lead an increase in blood pressure (pre-eclampsia).
For further reading and information:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC88948/
(Armitage 2000) (Philstrom 2008)

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