Why oral health education for pregnant women is important

During pregnancy, increased hormonal levels can affect the way that the body reacts to dental plaque and this can lead to swollen and bleeding gums (gingivitis) and to the more serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis.

Associations between periodontal diseases and adverse pregnancy outcomes have been demonstrated – a pregnant woman with poor gum health runs a greater risk of suffering from pre-eclampsia, of giving birth prematurely, and of giving birth to an underweight child.

Thus, maintaining oral health and periodontal health during pregnancy is crucial both for pregnant women themselves and for their unborn children.

But the importance of good oral and periodontal health during pregnancy is not widely known. There is fundamental need to provide suitable health education to women who are pregnant or who are planning to have children.

This education is best delivered by the healthcare professionals with whom pregnant women will come into contact: their gynaecologists, general physicians, dentists, and dental hygienists.

The Oral Health and Pregnancy project provides guidelines for pregnant women and for the various healthcare professionals who will advise them during their pregnancy