Meta: Chewing gum during pregnancy may help prevent premature birth.
Pregnancy puts the body through many changes, including a particularly dangerous phenomenon called pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is particularly troublesome because it can strike anyone, even pregnant women with excellent oral hygiene. While it is not known exactly how this happens, it can be attributed to changing hormones and bacteria levels in the mouth.
Much has been studied about pregnancy gingivitis and how to prevent it, but a new study from Malawi suggests that chewing sugarless gum during pregnancy may help prevent premature birth and low birth weight in babies. The study was conducted in Malawi because of the country’s high rate of premature births.
The study found that among the women who chewed sugarless gum during pregnancy, they had lower instances of preterm births before 37 weeks gestation. Of those who chewed gum with xylitol, 13 percent had preterm births, while those who did not had 17 percent.
Preterm or premature birth can be dangerous for infants, as it can cause problems ranging from respiratory issues, feeding issues, and even developmental delays and disabilities.
So, what can we take away from this study? For starters, it’s important to note that no amount of chewing gum will make up for oral hygiene, so continuing to brush and floss are imperative, especially during pregnancy. You may also want to increase your visits to Dr. Abelar during pregnancy to stay on top of your oral health, even if you don’t have pregnancy gingivitis.
Whether you do or do not have pregnancy gingivitis or if you’re even pregnant, incorporating sugarless gum into your diet can be beneficial to your teeth because the saliva it generates can help neutralize plaque bacteria that sit on your teeth. If you can’t get to a toothbrush, popping a piece of gum after you eat can help clear away that bacteria and keep your breath fresh, to boot.
If you are pregnant, now is the time to schedule your appointment or appointments with Dr. Abelar. To do so, or with any questions or concerns about your oral health during this time of many changes, please reach out to Dr. Abelar’s office in San Deigo today.