When I see a woman in first trimester one of my recommendations is for them to have a dental check-up and clean if they haven’t had one in the past few months. But now that advice extends into the preconception period as there is mounting evidence to show how the mother’s oral microbiome (meaning the makeup of various microbes in her mouth) can impact health of mother and baby. It is a vital but often neglected area of prenatal care.
How can an imbalance have severe consequences for both mother and baby?
Oral microbiome may ‘seed’ the uterine environment. Oral diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by an overgrowth of pathogenic (‘bad’) bacteria which can trigger inflammation and tissue destruction.
Recently research has emerged showing that periodontal disease during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, early pregnancy loss, and stillbirths.
Maternal oral health can also have long lasting effects on offspring health, important in establishing the baby’s microbiome in utero, which impacts the development of the infant immune system, risk of the baby developing cavities later in life
So, it makes sense to treat oral dysbiosis before getting pregnant.
My recommendations include:
- Gut a dental check-up and treat any issues BEFORE pregnancy
Evidence is showing this to be more important that dealing with things once pregnant before the inflammation has had detrimental effects on the placenta
- Take a targeted probiotic for oral health
Non-invasive treatment of the oral microbiome using probiotics could offer an alternative or adjunct treatment strategy that is safe during pregnancy as well as during the preconception period. A randomised controlled trial found that a specific combination of 2 strains of lactobacilli (available through me or your health practitioner) reduced the risk of can support oral microbiome health, reduce gingivitis as well as reduce the incidence of dental cavities in childhood. It’s chewable, tasty and safe during pregnancy as well.
By Doreen Schwegler May 2021
Doreen is a Medical Scientist, Naturopath and Fertility Counsellor with over 32 years of experience helping couples conceive and birth healthy babies. She offers an 8-module online proactive preconception course “Creating Healthy babies” – see: