A recent study suggests that women who are pregnant are at a greater risk of suffering from gingivitis. They may require regular care in order to avoid this and other adverse oral health conditions.
The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) was the platform from which the results of the research were presented.
The study involved a multi-centre approach and focused on improved oral healthcare for pregnant women. The effect of factors, including study site, demographics and gestational age, on first- and second-trimester gingivitis was evaluated. Trained examiners were used to identify over 600 women, all of whom were between 8 and 24 weeks pregnant and had a minimum of 30 bleeding gingivitis sites. The Loe Silness GI, a four-point clinical index, was also used to measure whole of mouth gingivitis.
Researchers ascertained that maternal age and study site were indeed factors affecting potential gingival bleeding during trimesters one and two. However, ethnicity and gestational age did not appear to have any bearing on the condition.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s study lead and dean of dentistry, Michael Reddy, agreed the study has gone some way towards overturning some conventional knowledge regarding pregnancy-related gingival inflammation. For example, rather than steadily increasing during pregnancy and then returning to more normal levels postpartum, gingival inflammation was typical the same whether women were 8 or 24 weeks pregnant.
It was interesting to note that younger participants were found to have higher levels of gingival inflammation. This is unlike the majority of periodontal diseases, which are more likely to increase in severity with age. One reason for this could be the relative lack of exposure to various microbes in younger expectant mothers.
It is important that dentists understand the potential problems which can arise as a result of gingivitis, especially during pregnancy. It may not be as harmless as previously assumed, and intervention is essential for the patients’ continued oral health, as well as for the well-being of the foetus itself.
It is also imperative that patients keep regular appointments with a dentist, such as http://www.docklandsdental.ie/, who provide a range of dentistry services, including dental implants in Dublin.
It is vital that more research is carried out in order to further clarify who is at greatest risk.