What is Pregnancy?
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. There are three phases of pregnancy, known as trimesters. Each trimester lasts for three months.
- There are approximately 6 million pregnancies every year in the United States.
- Every year there are approximately 2 million women in the US who experience pregnancy loss.
- 600,000 women experience pregnancy loss through miscarriage.
- 467,201 babies are born prematurely.
- 307,030 babies are born with Low Birth Weight.
- 820,000 women smoke cigarettes while pregnant.
- 757,000 women drink alcohol while pregnant.
- Nausea is one of the most universal pregnancy symptoms, affecting up to 85% of pregnant women.
- Eight out of ten expectant mothers experience acid reflux, with symptoms varying from mild to quite severe.
- In the first three months of pregnancy, morning sickness is a very common occurrence.
- Intense cravings for sweets are common during pregnancy.
How is pregnancy related to your mouth?
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 several oral pathogens. A different research study analyzed amniotic fluid from expectant mothers, 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 risk of cavities forming in teeth. Additionally, increased oral acidity can erode enamel, weakening teeth. Therefore, those who experience pregnancy-related acid reflux have an even greater risk of tooth or periodontal problems.