Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

Dental Cleanings During Pregnancy Available in Mississauga, ON 

dental cleanings are recommended during pregnancy. schedule your appointment at square one health group in mississauga, on.

Why is dental and oral health crucial during pregnancy?

It is important to take care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy for the following reasons:

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect your gums causing them to become more sensitive, swollen and red. This is called “pregnancy gingivitis” or gum disease. Any time between the third and ninth month of pregnancy, you may experience "pregnancy gingivitis." Pregnancy gingivitis is when your gums are swollen, red or irritated from bacteria along the gum line. Your gums are more sensitive because your estrogen and progesterone hormones have increased during your pregnancy.

Morning sickness during pregnancy can expose your teeth to stomach acid and weaken the surface of your teeth by demineralizing. This puts you at higher risk of tooth decay and erosion of your teeth

Gingivitis can lead to more serious periodontal (gum and bone) disease without good oral care.

Poor dental health may affect the health of your developing baby. Research shows there may be a link between periodontal disease and having a pre-term or low-birth weight baby. These babies are at greater risk of having developmental problems, asthma, ear infections, and may have a higher risk of infant death.

Dental cleanings are recommended every three months during pregnancy to prevent gum disease an inflammation.  


How can I keep my teeth and gums healthy?

Your teeth can be affected by what you eat and drink, how often you eat and drink, how long the food stays on your teeth, as well as how long plaque is left on your teeth. Plaque is the sticky film that contains bacteria.

To keep your teeth and gums healthy:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride.

  • Clean carefully along the gum line where plaque sticks.

  • Floss your teeth every day before bedtime.

  • Choose to drink water between meals and snacks. Avoid frequent sipping on sweet liquids.

  • Brush your teeth after meals and snacks. If this is not possible, rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouth rinse.

  • Eat healthy foods and limit foods that are sweet or stick to your teeth. If you eat sweets occasionally, try to eat them at mealtime.

Do not smoke or drink alcohol during pregnancy.

Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can leave stomach acids in your mouth. Do not brush your teeth for 30 minutes after vomiting. The stomach acid combined with brushing may erode your tooth enamel. Rinse your mouth with water, or mix a teaspoon of baking soda with water. You can also use a fluoride mouth rinse to freshen your mouth and protect your teeth.

Should I see a dentist while I am pregnant?

Caring for your teeth and gums during pregnancy is an important part of having a healthy pregnancy.

Regular dental cleanings and check-ups are safe at any time during pregnancy. Be sure to tell your dentist or dental hygienist that you are pregnant. Any pain, swelling or infection in your mouth should be treated right away to keep you and your baby healthy



Researchers have shown that periodontal disease in expectant mothers actually exposes their unborn child to many different risks, particularly if they also happen to be diabetes sufferers.

Periodontal disease generally begins with a bacterial infection in the gum (gingival) tissue, which progressively destroys the tissue and the underlying bone.  If left untreated, the bacterial infection causes an inflammatory reaction in the body, which can significantly deepen the gum pockets (space between the teeth and gums), and forces the gum and jawbone to recede.  Eventually, the progressive nature of periodontal disease causes the teeth to become loose and unstable, and eventually fall out.

Pregnancy causes many hormonal changes which increase the risk of the expectant mother to develop gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue) and periodontal disease.  These oral problems have been linked in many research studies to preeclampsia, low birth weight of the baby and premature birth.  Expectant women should seek immediate treatment for periodontal disease in order to reduce the risk of pre-natal and post-natal complications.


Reasons for the Connection - Our Mississauga Dentists Have Answers

There are many different reasons why periodontal disease may affect the health of the mother and her unborn child:

  • Prostaglandin – Periodontal disease appears to elevate levels of prostaglandin in mothers who are suffering from the more advanced forms of the condition.  Prostaglandin is a labor-inducing compound found in one of the oral bacteria strains associated with periodontitis.  Elevated levels of prostaglandin can cause the mother to give birth prematurely and deliver a baby with a low birth weight.

  • C - reactive protein (CRP) – This protein, which has been previously linked to heart disease, has now been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes including preeclampsia and premature birth.  Periodontal infections elevate C-reactive protein levels and amplify the body’s natural inflammatory response.  Periodontal bacteria may enter the bloodstream causing the liver to produce CRP which leads to inflamed arteries as well as possible blood clots.  These inflammatory effects can then lead to blocked arteries causing strokes or heart attacks.

  • Bacteria spread – The bacteria which colonize in the gum pockets can readily travel through the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body.  In pregnant women, research has found that oral bacteria and associated pathogens have colonized in the internal mammary glands and coronary arteries.

Diagnosis and Treatment at Square One Health Group

Dental cleanings are recommended every three months during pregnancy to prevent gum disease an inflammation.  


There are many safe, non surgical treatment options available for pregnant women.  It is of paramount importance to halt the progress of periodontal disease in order to increase the chances of a safe and healthy delivery.

Initially, the dentist will assess the exact condition of the gums and jawbone in order to make a precise diagnosis.  Scaling and root planing are two common non-surgical procedures used to rid the tooth-root surfaces of calculus (tartar) and remove the bacterial toxins from the gum pockets.

With treatment, the risks of pregnancy complications caused by periodontal disease are reduced by as much as 50%, and these treatments will alleviate many unpleasant and harmful effects associated with gingivitis and periodontal infection.

Dentists can provide education and recommendations to pregnant women about effective home care which can reduce risks that may affect her and/or her child’s health. Risks of periodontal disease can be vastly reduced by proper home care, smoking cessation, dietary changes, and the ingestion of supplementary vitamins.

If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal disease and its affect on pregnancy, please contact our practice.

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