Gingivitis, Gum Disease, and Periodontal Disease
For women over forty who are looking to become mothers, it’s important to learn about the steps you can take to promote a healthy pregnancy be aware of potential dental problems associated with pregnancy after 40 and how you can minimize them. As a dental office in Downtown Boston, we see women who have delayed having children due to their careers and other reasons and are focused on their overall health and wellness during this important time.
First, if you are considering pregnancy, did you know that good oral health can help your chances of conception? From Womens Health Magazine, “Could something as simple as flossing your teeth help keep you fertile? Perhaps. ‘Several studies have indicated that a woman’s oral health may be related to her reproductive success,’ says Susan Karabin, D. D. S., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Periodontology. In one study, women who needed fertility treatments had higher levels of gum bleeding and inflammation than those who conceived naturally, the Journal of Periodontology reports. ‘Brush and floss every day and get a professional cleaning and exam every six months,’ advises Karabin, who adds that not smoking and avoiding sugary foods and drinks are also key to keeping your teeth and gums healthy.”
Older mothers face combined issues of regular dental problems during pregnancy as well as the dental concerns of aging individuals. During pregnancy it’s common for hormonal changes to create a higher risk for dental infections like gingivitis and gum disease; periodontal disease (gum disease) affects about 15% of women of childbearing age and up to 40% of pregnant women. Nausea and vomiting are also very common during pregnancy with 70-85% of women experience these symptoms. Although nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP) is predominantly associated with early pregnancy, it is possible that some women experience it past the first trimester. Repeat acid contact with teeth can lead to enamel erosion and tooth sensitivity over time.
Aging impacts your dental health as well. Over time, your teeth naturally deteriorate from years of wear and tear. As an adult, you are likely faced with repairing or replacing older dental work (ex. broken amalgam fillings or dental implants) as well as an increased risk of tooth decay at the roots of teeth (WebMD). Vigilance in your oral care is important more than ever for older mothers as studies have shown that the oral health of mothers can affect the oral health of their children. During pregnancy, a mother must maintain routine dental healthcare, for herself and her child. The Perinatal Oral Health Consensus Statement from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states: “Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases, including needed dental radiographs and use of local anesthesia, are highly beneficial and can be undertaken during pregnancy with no additional fetal or maternal risk when compared to the risk of not providing care. Good oral health and control of oral disease protects a woman’s health and quality of life and has the potential to reduce the transmission of pathogenic bacteria from mothers to their children.”
As your Boston dentist, we know you may have concerns about your oral care during pregnancy. We will work to address any specific concerns and ease any fears about receiving dental care. The prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases, including needed dental X-rays and use of local anesthesia, are highly beneficial and will not cause any additional fetal or maternal risk. We will plan definitive treatment for the dental health of mother and child and keep you fully informed. Request an appointment today for your health and the health of your child.