The more dental science advances the more apparent its connections to overall health become. The following article from Dentistry IQ sheds light on a previously unknown connection between oral health of a pregnant mother and the health of her unborn child. When an expecting mother has to fight off infections in her mouth she leaves herself vulnerable and has to divert resources away from her fetus.
By Curt Yeomans
JONESBORO ? Protect your smile because your baby’s life may depend on it.
There is a new line of thought in medical science about the link between an expectant mother’s mouth and her unborn child.
It turns out oral diseases, such as gum disease and periodontal disease, may increase the chances that a baby will be born prematurely or underweight, said Dr. Vicki Edwards-Morris, the Clayton County District dental director.
When a mother gets these types of diseases, her body’s efforts to fight the disease may protect her but it can also put the unborn baby at risk.
“The anti-bodies their bodies produce to fight the infection can have a negative affect on the placenta,” Edwards-Morris said.
The research on how much of an impact dental diseases can have on an unborn child is still being conducted. But, Edwards-Morris and Board of Health spokesman Joel Hall said scientists are beginning to find links between the dental health of a mother and the likelihood that a baby will be prematurely born or underweight.
As a result, the Clayton County Board of Health is jumping ahead of the curve with a new program, called “Smile, You’re Pregnant.”
“It is open to all Clayton County women who are expecting a baby,” Hall said.
Hall later explained the health department is starting the program now, rather than waiting on the research because, “we want to be able to get ahead of it now.”
The new program is part dental exam and part dental education class. It is designed to educate expectant mothers on the threats gum disease and periodontal disease pose to a fetus.
Participants visit the health department’s offices every Thursday afternoon, from 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m., and dental health experts conduct dental exams on them. The dentists then offer educational advice on how to prevent oral diseases, said Edwards-Morris.
“We try to provide services to expectant parents to improve their overall oral health,” Edwards-Morris said.
The Board of Health’s dental health department is partnering with its Making Ours Moms Successful program to conduct the “Smile, You’re Pregnant” program.
Hall said mothers interested in participating in the program must make an appointment for the Thursday sessions. They can call the Board of Health at 678-610-7199 and ask to make a dental appointment….More at Babies threatened by bad teeth – Dentistry IQ
The health of a fetus depends on many factors and most mothers would do anything to ensure the health of their baby. Simply being aware that bad teeth can harm their baby can make sure a mother to-be takes care of her oral heath. As with most health care issues, most lower income families recieve inadequate coverage and as a result are more prone to having an unhealthy baby. Hopefully more studies are done to illucidate the connections between oral and overall health.