Women with bad breath may be risking the lives of their babies, a new study shows.
For years, pregnant women have been cautioned about the relationship between reproductive health and gum disease, a disease may result in premature births. Now, a study in Obstetrics and Gyencology reveals that bacteria in an infected mother's mouth may be linked to stillborn births.
According to lead author Yiping Han, professor at Case Western University, bacteria from the mouth can be transferred into the placenta by entering the blood stream through cuts in the gums. The fetus isn't able to combat the disease through the immune system the way an adult can.
Bleeding gums aren't unusual among pregnant women. Avoid gum disease by brushing and flossing frequently during the day. In some cases, surgery may even be required.
Before you go running to the bathroom to brush your teeth for the next hour, keep in mind that the outcome is not a common occurrence. However, if you develop bleeding gums, make an appointment with a dentist and get your gingivitis treated. Studies suggest that the chance of premature births increases from two to seven times more among women with gingivitis.
When pregnant, there are so many factors to consider and so many things that seem like they could go wrong. Taking proactive steps to better your health can make for an easier pregnancy and will help your stress and anxiety levels during childbirth. Oral hygiene is just one part of your reproductive health, though we often forget that there is a link. These simple steps can help you out when you're pregnant and need more than just a shiny smile:
> Visit your dentist regularly.
> Brush your teeth well at least twice a day and preferably after every meal in order to remove plaque and prevent tartar build up.
> Floss! Floss has come a long way - endless flavors can be wrapped around great gadgets. Make sure to get the side of each tooth and the ones way in the back.
> Use a mouth rinse that helps prevent gingivitis.
> Scrape your tongue! It sounds odd, but a tongue scrape a day can keep the bacteria (and white tongue coating) away.
> Watch what you eat!