Pregnancy is the period from conception-when a woman's egg is fertilized-to birth. After the egg is fertilized by a sperm and then implanted in the lining of the uterus, it develops into the placenta and embryo, and later into a fetus. Pregnancy usually lasts 40 weeks, beginning from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period. It is divided into three trimesters, each lasting three months.
There is a link between uncontrolled periodontal disease and pregnancy complications such as premature labor and preeclampsia (rise in blood pressure). A study exploring the possible link between periodontal disease and preeclampsia found that 50% of the placentas from women with preeclampsia were positive for one or more periodontal pathogens. Another study examined the amniotic fluid of a test group of pregnant women, identifying bacteria commonly found in the mouth and associated with periodontal disease.
Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gum disease, which can affect the health of developing babies. Studies have shown that bacteria responsible for tooth decay are passed from the mother to the child in utero. The more frequently you give into the craving for sugary snacks, the greater the chance of developing tooth decay. Pregnant women with acid reflux are also at a greater risk of tooth erosion and periodontal problems, as the acid begins to thin and wear away the protective coating of teeth (enamel), leaving them weakened.
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