I am 28 and was just told my gingivitis is now periodontal disease and I have some bone loss and pockets are at 4 when normal is a 3. I have been told to get cleanings every 3 months and to do daily home care of brushing with electric toothbrush, flossing, and mouthwash. My concern is pregnancy. I read online that periodontal disease causes possible miscarriage and low birth weight babies. I also heard that periodontal disease can't be cured, can only be controlled. So right now I have the very red and inflamed gums and have been religiously brushing, flossing, mouthwash ordeal. Since this news of periodontal disease I am worried I will not be able to have a baby or will have a premature baby because of this gum infection. What are the facts? Am I over-worrying? Has anyone had a baby with also having periodontal disease or know of anyone?? I would really appreciate any feedback anyone can give me on this topic. Thank-you!
I had a hygienist tell me that when I was six months pregnant, only she made it sound like a done deal. I'd already had three miscarriages (due to a clotting factor) and she seemed to relish telling me that I would have a stillbirth. Her supervising dentist couldn't promise me the baby would be fine, either (because really, nobody can). Needless to say, I cried nonstop those last three months, even though, like you, I am religious with brushing, flossing and professional cleanings...and yet still have deep pockets; always have. (Had the hygienist read the chart she would have seen that too.) My daughter came out fine and right on schedule, and my husband urged me change dentists. Turns out the hygienist was being alarmist, if not sadistic, and my new dentist and hygienist told me that in twenty-plus years, they'd only seen one case in which periodontal disease had caused pregnancy problems—and that was during their training in underserved areas where some women NEVER had seen a dentist. I ended up reporting the original hygienist to the state dental board, but to no avail but a written warning (which I hope ruined her Christmas!).
All that said, you are much more likely to have fertility/pregnancy problems due to other things. So you're doing everything right. Don't worry! Even if you do become pregnant and have complications, your gums are probably fortieth on the list of causes. But keep brushing anyway. :-)
I am a dental hygienist. There is an association between pregnancy, preterm low birth weight babies in patients with periodontal disease. This is not a guaranteed relationship. Not every pregnant patient with periodontal disease will have a preterm baby, and not every preemie was born to a mother with periodontal disease. As a hygienist I always inform patients of the risks for their own benefit. Treatment of the disease and proper home care can reduce chances of a problem. Worse case scenario for treatment is a healthier patient, while worse case scenario for not treating is a preterm low birth weight baby.
I am also a mother and I know how scary it can be when you are told that there are chances that there could be a problem in your pregnancy. Remember, dentists and hygienists are medical professionals, just as doctors and nurses. In the end it is about what is best for you and in the case of pregnancy, your baby. Treatment of both periodontal disease and decay are advised for your health and your child's.
Although decay was not mentioned in this post I wanted to mention that the bacteria that cause decay are passed from parent to child, so treatment before birth can help reduce the likelihood of this bacterial transfer. (Make sure dad get's his check up too.)
This link is to an article about how hormones have different effects on the body and there is a section about pregnancy and oral complications: http://helpmehygienist.com/men-versus-women-hormones-and-periodontal-disease/
Thank you so much for sharing your story and taking the time to do so. It has given me major relief. I also have had a miscarriage (1 so far) and am glad to know that you went through 3, yet were able to carry a baby to term and now have a baby girl. That is exciting news. Thank you again for your thoughtful input!
It is nice to get such helpful information from a dental hygenist, I appreciate your reply post and the part you speak of that says, "can reduce chances of a problem" is a refreshing, truthful comment to hear. I needed to hear some good news, even if it was just a little.
I have had periodontal disease since my mid-teens despite not having any risk factors like smoking, drinking soda, etc. I also practice good hygeine and have a good diet. Sometimes it's just genetic. My pockets were at like 6 or 7's even after tens of thousands of dollars of surgery. The doctors were stumped.
I'm on baby #3 right now, 32 weeks. I had two babies, born at 37 weeks and LBW, and born at 36 weeks, not LBW. Neither had health problems. I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty sure the birth weights etc were due to the fact that I had severe hyperemesis with both and was really malnourished myself. I don't know what this pregnancy will turn out like, but I feel alright. This pregnancy I'm having more stillbirth risks because I got diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease which also ups stillbirth risks. Fun.
I don't know whether my story helped or harmed you, but there it is. I have two healthy children (and hopefully will have three healthy children soon) despite pretty bad periodontal disease. Also, I've had one miscarriage in my life and it was due to a blighted ovum - not related to periodontal disease at all.
Hashimotos disease is also linked to periodontal disease. That is probably why you have been having problems, not genetics. The genetic predisposition is not strong and good homecare can overcome most problems. Patients who have excellent homecare and perio issues usually have some other medical problem like you do.