Dr. Alex A. Farnoosh, a Beverly Hills periodontist, reveals that routine gum care can help prevent oral infections that complicate fetal health.
Beverly Hills, California (May 2010) – For some time medical findings have suggested oral disease during pregnancy can affect fetal health, increasing the likelihood of premature birth and low birth weight in humans. The link between oral disease and systemic conditions is not a novel idea. Many chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, heart and Alzheimer’s disease, and many other conditions are consistently connected to periodontal disease. This has been supported through various studies and is widely accepted throughout the medical community. Only recently has the link between periodontal disease and stillbirths in humans been observed.
Up to 75% of all women experience pregnancy-related gingivitis due to changes in hormones. Previous research linked oral bacteria to rodent stillborn births and to human pre-term births; however, the connection to stillbirths in humans had yet to be seen until now. The first-ever documented case of oral bacteria actually causing a full-term human stillbirth occurred early this year in Santa Monica, California. Researchers identified Fuscobacterium nucleatum as the culprit. This bacterium was found in the mother’s oral plaque samples and the stillborn’s lungs and stomach, but not in the mother’s birth canal. This groundbreaking discovery suggests the bacterium was transmitted from the mother’s mouth through the blood to the fetus, and the fetus died because of the bacterial infection and inflammation.
The transmission of bacteria from the mother’s mouth to the fetus, and its potentially dangerous consequences, is certainly alarming. This new link between oral bacteria and stillbirths in humans highlights the need for first-rate preventative dental care, especially during pregnancy. Beverly Hills periodontist Dr. Alex Farnoosh has seen a dramatic increase in inquiries from existing patients and newly pregnant patients who want to make certain they are doing everything they can to protect their unborn child.
“This budding research makes the prevention and treatment of gum disease more important than ever,” says Dr. Farnoosh. “If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, you should be especially vigilant of any gum bleeding and alert your doctor and see a gum specialist. Expectant moms can greatly reduce their risk of stillbirth and pre-term labor by regularly seeing a periodontist.”
Dr. Farnoosh, founder of The Total Smile, has treated gum disease for over 25 years and recognizes that most patients are unaware of their gum contagion. He recommends a preventive strategy via regular checkups.
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