Many women are afraid to pursue periodontal care during the time they are pregnant. This is no doubt due, in part, to the possible need for local anesthetic and antibiotics. There is concern that these chemicals may have an adverse effect on the developing baby.
Ideally, existing gingivitis and periodontal bone loss and infection should be managed before the beginning of a pregnancy. Some studies have shown a correlation between untreated periodontal disease and pre-term deliveries. Premature babies are likely to have more medical issues and require more care.
During pregnancy, it is not uncommon for the gingiva around the teeth to become swollen and inflamed. This is most likely due to some factors. Hormonal changes can lead to increased swelling in the gum. The hormonal changes also seem to favor increased levels of the bacteria that are thought to be responsible for the bone loss around the teeth.
At the same time, there are changes in the immune system as it adapts to the developing fetus. Also, there is often a heightened response to the elevated levels of periodontal pathogens which result in increased gingival inflammation. The increased levels of circulating chemicals the body produces in response to the gingival inflammation can certainly reach the fetal circulation and may have adverse effects there.
Clearly, the best solution is to have a healthy mouth. As stated earlier, existing gingival and periodontal infection should ideally be managed before pregnancy. The bone that is lost around the teeth during the pregnancy will never come back. During pregnancy, women should be encouraged to have more frequent cleanings, not less. Every two months is not at all unrealistic and should help avoid problems during the pregnancy which could require treatment with things like local anesthetic and antibiotics.
Also, keep in mind that, once the baby is delivered, the mother’s life may become so complicated that keeping the regular cleaning schedule may become quite difficult for the first six months to a year, so starting off with a “clean slate” could be a great benefit.