A July 2022 preliminary study conducted in Heidelberg, Germany found that when it comes to prenatal care, your oral health might be a bigger concern than previously realized. In fact, poor oral health could even lead to preterm labor, and while the results are still considered inconclusive because of the small study size, it’s something worth thinking about if you are considering having a baby in the future.
What the Study Found
The small study looked at a total of 77 individuals divided into two groups. The first was a group of 33 people who had given birth before the 37th week of pregnancy and the second was a group of 44 people who gave birth after the 37th week, which is considered a full-term pregnancy. The researchers found that those who gave birth prematurely were significantly more likely to have inflamed gums with loss of the tissues surrounding their teeth than those who carried their babies to full term.
What These Results Mean
Larger-scale studies are on the horizon, but if the implications are correct, this means that good oral healthcare could have a significant impact on the number of preterm births in places like the United States and Europe. Premature delivery occurs in one out of every 10 births, and it is responsible for three-quarters of all infant fatalities that occur in the weeks just prior to and just after birth. In fact, it is also responsible for as many as half of all the developmental disorders that occur in children today. Significant reductions in preterm births would also mean reductions in perinatal deaths and developmental disorders – and that’s huge.
How to React to These Results
Studies like this continue to show that oral healthcare is absolutely crucial to one’s overall health – including the health of fetuses, newborns, and children. Never before has a study shown such a clear link between an individual’s oral health and their ability to carry a pregnancy to full gestation. If you are considering becoming a parent in the future, now is the time to start taking excellent care of your teeth and gums. Visit your dentist regularly – at least twice a year unless your dentist advises you otherwise – and make good oral healthcare a habit in your home.
Getting Back to Basics
Everyone – whether they are considering pregnancy or not – should take the same steps to care for their teeth and gums every single day. These include:
- Brushing twice a day, every day. Contrary to popular advice, it’s best to wait to brush your teeth until about an hour after you’ve eaten – not immediately after every meal. It’s also best to use a soft-bristled toothbrush that’s just as friendly to the environment as it is to your teeth.
- Using quality toothpaste. Each time you brush, use toothpaste that is made from natural ingredients like diatomaceous earth and Stevia. Choose a yummy flavor like Marshmallow or sophisticated Vanilla Mint for a more enticing experience.
- Flossing every day. If you aren’t currently flossing, now is the perfect time to start. Skip the plastic thread in a plastic box, which is terrible for the environment, and choose a minty-fresh silk dental floss, instead.
- Call a dentist for any pain or abnormalities. If you notice any symptoms like tooth or gum pain, bleeding gums when you brush, or anything that is unusual, call your dentist right away. The sooner you treat the early signs of gum disease, the better off you’ll be.
Oral healthcare is important, and studies like this one continue to show just how much of an impact your dental health can make on your body – and even the body of an unborn baby. Taking care of your teeth and gums is just one important way to take care of your whole body, and it all starts with quality products that are good for you and for the environment.