Healthy Mouth, Healthy Pregnancy

Published:December 30th, 2011

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A Recent study by a group of scientists determined a link between oral bacteria and the occurrence of miscarriages and still births in seemingly healthy pregnant women. According to the research done by Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine, oral bacteria can travel through an open wound in the mouth, through the blood stream and ultimately to the placenta, which could prove fatal to a pregnancy.

According to Dr. Yiping Han, the leading researcher at the university, the movement of bacteria from their natural environment to a new one can be very dangerous to one’s health. Even though the placenta has its own immune system, when it attacked by oral bacteria it can lead to its inflammation and ultimately a premature birth or termination of a pregnant. At the beginning of the research, Dr. Han assumed oral diseases, like gingivitis, were the more likely cause of the premature termination of pregnancies. But further research was able to determine that the instigating bacterial strain, were the ones that occur naturally in the mouth.

In his research, Dr. Han was able to determine that among the bacterial strains found in a colonized placenta, a small portion of them were the more virulent and famous periodontal pathogens. Contrary to what most people would assume, it is the natural and benign strains of bacteria found in the mouth that pose the most risk towards the termination of a pregnancy. This research comes on the heels of another study that was able to find a link between oral bacteria and heart disease.

Dr. Han said that more research is needed to determine the specific types of bacteria that pose a threat to the placenta and the effective treatments to remedy the situation in pregnant women. But in the meantime, the American Dental Association recommends pregnant women to protect their gums while taking care of their oral hygiene.

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