Infections in the gums double the risk of premature birth

Alterations in hormone levels that occur during pregnancy affect the blood vessels of the gums, the functioning of the cells of the periodontium tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth, the bacteria of the plaque and the local immune system. . This explains why the inflammation of the gums increases during pregnancy, and usually disappears after.

Nowadays, the importance of the inflammatory and infectious dental pathology, such as periodontitis, is known in the possibility of triggering threats of preterm – before the 37th week of gestation. This phenomenon is closely linked to the release of prostaglandins, which are oxytocic substances that act first in the cervical ripening and, subsequently, as inducing of uterine contractions. In addition, changes in pH in saliva, the increase in saliva and changes in dental plaque during pregnancy are made to take into account in these women.

Pregnancy problems

Thus, it is estimated that periodontal disease can affect 36-100% of pregnant women, provided there is prior gingivitis. The gum is intensely red, bleeds easily, is thickened and with a clear increase in size between the teeth, which allows more bacteria below the gum, explains. Therefore, if the pregnant woman has gingivitis or periodontitis prior to pregnancy, there is an additional risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, mainly premature birth or low weight. Experts estimate that the risk of premature birth can triple if the mother has periodontitis. In addition, periodontal disease has been linked to the increase in the time a woman takes to become pregnant.

In the opinion of Pedro Bullion, Professor of Stomatology at the University of Seville, “pregnancy implies the need to feed the future child and the female organism undergoes a stress that can generate pathologies. The mouth as part of that organism is influenced by all those circumstances, but also the oral pathology can alter the evolution of pregnancy or can worsen certain systemic pathologies ».

Therefore, emphasizes the president of SEGO, “gynecologists and obstetricians recommend all our patients a visit to the dentist at the beginning of pregnancy»; the need to resolve the possible periodontal problems of the woman before pregnancy or, at the latest, in the first weeks of the same is stressed. As underlined by SEPA and SEGO, in the same way that it happens with the preparation they perform to strengthen their bones, it is recommended that pregnant women or those who pretend to have a child follow a special care with oral health and prepare orally to be mothers (visits to the dentist, proper oral hygiene, and periodontal treatments if necessary). An adequate technique of oral hygiene (frequent use of toothbrush, interdental brushes and / or dental floss) is essential, not only to reduce gingivitis to a minimum, but to prevent the appearance of possible adverse effects in pregnancy.


Menopause is also a critical period for oral health. Thus, both estrogen levels (decreasing the anti-inflammatory effect of these hormones on the gums) and progesterone (reducing bone density and appearing osteoporosis) are reduced. At this stage of the woman’s life, estrogen deficiency produces significant alterations in the tissues of the mouth, with less secretion and changes in the biochemical composition of saliva, and disorders in the oral flora.

The most frequent disorders during menopause are: periodontal disorders such as atrophic gingivitis (with an abnormal pallor), postmenopausal gingivostomatitis (bright and dry gums, easy bleeding and color that varies between pale and reddish) and oral discomfort, with a burning sensation, dryness and bad taste (burning mouth syndrome).