An expecting mother suffering a gum disease not only requires an urgent visit to the dentist but the condition could also lead to a pre-term delivery or complicated pregnancy.
The revelation was made by a dentist at Sri Aurobindo Institute for Medical Science (SAIMS) in Indore after a study on oral hygiene linked to ante-natal care.
“We had a sample size of 200 educated pregnant women belonging to high-income groups who were then divided into two sets … one group with gum diseases and another group that did not have any problem,” dentist Nandika Babele said.
Of those suffering from gum diseases, 48.5% had a pre-term delivery, that is less than 37 weeks and more than 23 weeks, the study reveals.
“Around 30% had the child with a low birth weight that is less than 2.5 kilos,” Babele said.
She advised good oral hygiene for pregnant women, outlining that community programmes should be conducted on the issue.
“Gum diseases in pregnant women have a significant impact on overall health and development of their baby. Pre-term deliveries and low birth weight represent a major cause of neonatal mortality and a major contributor to long-term disability among survivors.”
Although women with healthy gums and teeth also recorded 20.5% pre-term delivery, the research shows considerably less low-birth-weight deliveries in this group.
The study takes into account women belonging to high-income groups to reach a conclusion but a reference to a 2008 research by dentist Prashanthi Reddy from Modern Dental College, Indore, is also made.
Reddy’s study shows similar results but in women from poor backgrounds.
“It reveals a significantly high number of premature deliveries and low birth weight in women with poor oral hygiene. But since the study group consisted of uneducated women belonging to the poor socioeconomic strata, results were thought to be doubtful because these factors can affect gestational outcomes,” Babele said.
The 2008 study had 280 volunteers aged between 18 and 37. Most of them were poor and attended school till the primary level.