Here is some important news for anyone who is pregnant or attempting to become pregnant — your dental hygiene may put your baby at risk. Oftentimes the surge in hormones during pregnancy can exaggerate the way that gums interact with plaque and make women vulnerable to bacteria. This means that pregnant women are particularly at risk for developing gingivitis, gum disease (periodontitis), and certain lesions in the mouth. Though this may not sound like a serious issue on its own, these complications are a serious threat to the health of the unborn baby.
Current research suggests there is a correlation between women with gingivitis and periodontal disease who report low birth weight and premature delivery. This is a startling find, especially since census surveys estimate that approximately 50 percent of the population has some form of gingivitis. Luckily, by using a microscope during routine examination, it is possible to detect harmful oral bacteria, specifically spirochetes, and prevent the diseases that lead to these birth complications.
Another complication for expectant mothers is outdated fillings. Multiple studies have shown that mercury from amalgam fillings can cross the blood-brain barrier, posing a serious threat to fetal development. New research indicates that mercury from dental procedures can contribute to autism and other birth defects if it enters the baby’s bloodstream. Proper dental care should include the removal of silver-mercury fillings during or right before a pregnancy. Due to the risks and side effects of these fillings, it may be best for pregnant or breastfeeding patients to hold off on any unnecessary dental work, besides cleanings, until after completely finished with breastfeeding. For women who are having trouble getting pregnant, mercury toxicity has been shown to cause infertility. However, studies indicate that once the body goes through heavy metal detoxification, a woman may be more likely to conceive.
If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, be sure to only visit dentists who do cleanings with a microscope and are certified in the IAOMT Safe Amalgam Removal Protocol. By practicing safe dentistry, we can ensure that our future generations avoid many of these preventable complications.