Dee Nishimine, D.D.S., Inc.
Sophia Y. Tseng, D.M.D.
Periodontics & Dental Implants
Call: (559)229-6557

PD and Pregnancy

Drs. Dennis Nishimine, Dee Nishimine, & Sophia Tseng at the intitial exam and every subsequent visit will update your medical history very carefully.  If you are pregnant or have any plans of becomiing pregnant please advise us as early as possible.

Researchers have shown that Periodontal Disease (PD) in expectant mothers actually exposes their unborn child to many different risks; particularly if they also happen to be  have diabetes.

Periodontal Disease (PD)  generally begins with a bacterial infection in the gum (gingival) tissue, which progressively destroys the tissue and the underlying bone.  If left untreated, the bacterial infection causes an inflammatory reaction in the body, which can significantly deepen the gum pockets (space between the teeth and gums) and forces the gum and jawbone to recede.  Eventually, the progressive nature of Periodontal Disease (PD) causes the teeth to become loose and unstable, and may be lost.

Pregnancy causes many hormonal changes which increase the risk of the expectant mother to develop gingivitis (Pregnancy Gingivitis) and Periodontal Disease (PD) .  These oral problems have been linked in many research studies to preeclampsia, low birth weight of the baby and premature  term births.  Expectant women should seek immediate treatment for Periodontal Disease (PD)  in order to reduce the risk of pre-natal and post-natal complications.

Reasons for the Connection

There are many different reasons why Periodontal Disease (PD) may affect the health of the mother and her unborn child:

  • Prostaglandin – Periodontal Disease (PD) appears to elevate levels of prostaglandin in mothers who are suffering from the more advanced forms of the condition.  Prostaglandin is a labor-inducing compound found in one of the oral bacteria strains associated with periodontitis.  Elevated levels of prostaglandin can cause the mother to give birth prematurely and deliver a baby with a low birth weight.

  • C - reactive protein (CRP) – This protein, which has been previously linked to heart disease, has now been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes including preeclampsia and premature birth.  Periodontal infections elevate C-reactive protein levels and amplify the body’s natural inflammatory response.  Periodontal bacteria may enter the bloodstream causing the liver to produce CRP which leads to inflamed arteries as well as possible blood clots.  These inflammatory effects can then lead to blocked arteries causing strokes or heart attacks.

  • Bacteria spread – The bacteria which colonize in the gum pockets can readily travel through the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body.  In pregnant women, research has found that oral bacteria and associated pathogens have colonized in the internal mammary glands and coronary arteries.
  • Bacterial Plaque:  The greater amount of Bacterial Plaque present has a direct influence on the amount of infection, Prostaglandin, and C-reactive protein.  "Cleanliness is next to Godliness."  Please Brush and Floss daily.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Drs. Dennis Nishimine, Dee Nishimine, & Sophia Tseng want to be proactive in your periodontal care as well as your overall systemic health. If you are planing to become pregnant, your periodontal conditions should be taken care of first.  Even during your pregancy you need to be monitored and have conservative therapy provided for you and your unborn child. Your cleanings (SPT's) should be every 2-3 months during your pregnancy.

If you are on Birth Control Pills please be aware that they are not effective if you are given an antibiotic and use other measures to prevent conception.

There are many safe, non surgical treatment options available for pregnant women.  It is of paramount importance to halt the progress of Periodontal Disease (PD) in order to increase the chances of a safe and healthy delivery.

Initially, Drs. Dennis Nishimine, Dee Nishimine, & Sophia Tseng will assess the exact condition of the gums and jawbone in order to make a precise diagnosis.  Scaling and Root Planing (SRP's) and Oral Hygiene Instructions (OHI) are imperative.   These are non-surgical procedures used to rid the tooth-root surfaces of calculus (tartar) and remove the bacterial toxins from the gum pockets.  If only a few bacteria are present there is little chance of infection.

The advantages to the pregnant woman are plentiful.  The risks of pregnancy complications caused by Periodontal Disease (PD) are reduced by as much as 50%, and these treatments will alleviate many unpleasant and harmful effects associated with Pregnancy Gingivitis and periodontal infection.

Your OB-Gyn seldom provides dental education and recommendations to the pregnant women on effective home care which can reduce risks that may affect her and/or her child’s health.  Risks of Periodontal Disease (PD) can be vastly reduced by proper home care, smoking cessation, dietary changes and the ingestion of supplementary vitamins.  This is where our Periodontal  Implant Team comes into play and again, please advise us if you are pregnant.

If you have any questions or concerns about \Periodontal Disease (PD) and its affect on pregnancy, please ask our Periodontal  Implant Team.  Contact us