The Link Between Gum Disease and Premature Birth

New research continues to verify just how crucial bacterial flora is to our overall health and well-being, influencing our lives from the day we are conceived until the day we die.

Researchers recently tested samples of placental tissue from 320 women immediately after delivery. The makeup of the placental microbiome was different among those women who experienced either a preterm birth or had an infection that was treated with antibiotics and cured months or weeks previously.

Although the placenta has long been thought to be sterile, they discovered it harbored a unique bacterial community different from that found in the vagina and gut or on the skin. The placenta microbiome species were actually similar to those found in the mouths of the mothers. The researchers speculate the microbes travel from the mouth to the placenta by way of the bloodstream. (Sci Transl Med 14 May 21;6(237):237ra65)

Periodontal diseaseRisk of Preterm Birth

There are a couple of interesting tidbits we can glean from this study. One, it firmly establishes the link between periodontal disease and preterm birth. And two, the use of antibiotics immediately prior to or during pregnancy appears to be a contributing factor in preterm births.

This last finding alone should be a major warning bell throughout the medical community. Premature babies require a great deal of special care and assistance and are subject to major problems such as respiratory distress syndrome, chronic lung disease, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, apnea, bradycardia, retinopathy of prematurity, and jaundice, to name just a few.

One round of antibiotics can disrupt the normal bacterial flora in the body for up to a year or longer. The scientific community is just beginning to understand the far-reaching relationships between the bacteria that reside on and in our body and our long-term health. That same disruption in newborns could be the difference between life and death or permanent disability.

I can’t overstress the importance of including fermented foods and probiotic supplements in your regimen. Although their health benefits are indisputable, a lot of people mistakenly believe they are simply a passing fad. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our food supply is becoming increasingly sterile both for “safety reasons” and to prolong shelf life. Overuse of antibiotics and bacteria-disrupting prescription and over-the-counter drugs is at an all-time high. Almost the entire US population drinks chlorinated water. These are just a few of the reasons why consuming live fermented foods and probiotics is becoming more and more critical if you want to remain healthy.

Periodontal disease is no laughing matter. And it is also not ‘inevitable’. Gum disease can and does have serious health side effects. It can contribute to heart, kidney, liver & lung disease, none of which are desirable. Early to moderate gum disease can be easily treated, non-surgically, by your friendly dental hygienist at Gentle Family Dentistry. Don’t let it ruin your life.

Legal CMA Disclaimer:

Although this article may contain factual information, the information contained in this article has probably not been evaluated by the FDA nor is it in any way intended to be medical advice.

Unfortunately I must recommend that for any change in medical or health behavior or for any change in the way you use prescribed drugs by your healthcare providers or before acting upon any of the advice given in this or any other article, that you consult with your licensed healthcare provider or physician.

Dr. Locker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff invite you to call Gentle Family Dentistry in Duncansville, PA for the greatest, most advanced, painless dental experience you have ever had.

You can call us at: 814-693-6777 or just click the link to
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And remember, You only have to floss daily the ones you want to keep.