In 2015, about 1 out of 10 babies was born too early in the United States (1). In recognition of November’s Prematurity Awareness Month, enjoy a hygienist’s passion for providing exceptional periodontal care not just for the patient but the unborn patient.
“Recently, I was training in a well-established dental practice of more than 30 years. The four woman, very talented and all out of school less than a year hygiene team, prompted the question about my opinion of pregnancy gingivitis. I answered with a question of my own, “What did you learn in school about it?” Quite frankly, their response left me speechless, “It’s caused by increased blood flow and it will go away once the baby is born.” WHAT? Is this really being taught to the next generation of dental hygiene health care providers? It’s time for a wake-up call!
Bleeding gums are a result of a biofilm invasion and host response. Is there a hormonal component? Of course. However, we cannot overlook the bacterial component in this equation. How do you know if pregnancy gingivitis is hormonally driven or bacterial driven? You MUST test. When bleeding and harmful oral bacteria are present, they may enter the blood stream with the potential to cross the placental barrier; invading the intra-uterine environment, putting the baby at risk for pre-term low birth weight and still birth. It’s time to do something different!! Test, don’t guess.”
Click Here to read a Case Western University study about periodontal bacteria and stillborn.