As research continues to uncover important links between the health of the gums and overall health, it is becoming increasingly clear that gum inflammation (gingivitis) should be prevented or treated early. This holds especially true for pregnant women, who undergo hormonal changes that render them more susceptible to gum disease. While standard antibiotic-based therapy must be avoided because it stains babies’ teeth, aggressive tooth-cleaning (“scaling and planing”) is also often avoided in the belief that it could lead to bacteria entering the blood stream and harming the fetus. However, recent research finds this fear to be unfounded. Testing of toddlers whose mothers were treated with aggressive cleaning while pregnant showed no signs of developmental harm. Prevention is always preferred, however.
P.S. Studies indicate that periodontal (gum) treatment significantly reduces the risk of preterm birth or low birth-weight infants.