Brushing and flossing teeth can reduce pregnancy-associated gingivitis

pregnancy-associated gingivitis
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A study conducted by UK researchers has shown that nurse-led oral hygiene education has been proved to reduce gingival inflammation in pregnant women. 

Periodontal diseases can represent an inflammatory and microbial burden to the body that has been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth and low birth weight.

The study by a team at the University of Alabama—and published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health—was conducted among 750 pregnant women between eight and 24 weeks of pregnancy with moderate to severe gingivitis. Black women made up two-thirds of participants.

Each participant received oral hygiene instructions and the items needed to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen, including a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss.

Both groups of participants showed significant improvement of oral health, which was shown by a decrease of bleeding sites compared to baseline levels.

In addition to the at-home oral health care regimen, the researchers also focused on a model of care that combines both oral and prenatal care. They conducted the study at obstetrics clinics located at two medical centres.

At those clinics, the team trained the nurse-led staff on providing oral hygiene instructions to patients. They found that the integration of oral health and medicine also played a role in improving the oral health of pregnant women.

“Through our study, we found that treatment of gingivitis during pregnancy can reduce the risk of preterm birth,” Nicolaas Geurs said.

“The main takeaway from this study is that those who are pregnant should keep plaque off their teeth, which can easily be done through good oral hygiene, or brushing and flossing.

“Oral health is critical for overall health,” Geurs added. 

“By working with the nursing staff and training them on how to provide oral hygiene instructions when a patient comes in for prenatal care, we found that we can make an impact on a patient’s overall health.”

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