Poor Maternal Oral Health during Pregnancy might Increase Risk of Preterm Birth

HONG KONG, CHINA - Media OutReach - 26 May, 2017 - According to an oral health survey conducted in 2011 by the Department of Health of HKSAR government, almost all of the adults surveyed (96.1%) have experienced tooth decay at some point. Tooth decay is a common affliction caused by improper oral healthcare especially after meals. During the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival, many would love to enjoy different kinds of rice dumplings, in particular, females with a sweet tooth might add cane sugar to enrich the flavors which might increase their risk of tooth decay. According to Professor Edward Chin-Man Lo, Chair Professor of Dental Public Health in Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Hong Kong, females should pay attention to their oral hygiene at different life stages, especially during pregnancy and being a mother at home. The impact of poor oral health on mothers and mothers-to-be can be more than just a simple case of tooth decay. O ral hygiene not only affects the women themselves, but also the health of their unborn babies, infants and children. It is recommended for mothers to follow the "four dental hacks to perfect clean teeth" to keep the dentist at bay for themselves as well as for their children. 

To maximize the effectiveness, all of the mothers should stick with "The Ten-Minute Rule" by chewing sugar-free gums within ten minutes after each meal or after drinking which can effectively prevent acid to damage tooth surfaces.

Pregnant Women: Poor Oral Health Might Increase Risk in Preterm Birth and Underweight Infant

Women experience dramatic biological changes and changes in their daily routines during pregnancy, and these can increase the propensity for oral disease. Professor Lo explained, "Changes in female hormones during pregnancy can cause inflamed gums and this inflammation makes pregnant women more susceptible to the bacteria in plaque. This phenomenon is called 'Pregnancy-Associated Gingivitis'. In addition to biological changes, pregnancy also changes a woman's dietary habits. With increased frequency of food intake, the chances of tooth decay and other oral problems are also proportionately higher if proper oral healthcare after each meal is neglected ."

Poor oral health of pregnant women does not only affect the adult, but can also have an impact on the fetuses. Professor Lo added, "Studies have pointed out that p eriodontal disease in pregnant women can be a risky affair , which can increase the risk of preterm birth and underweight newborn."

Newbie Mother: Living Habits can Directly Impact Oral Health of Infants

New mothers are another group that tend to overlook their own oral health. The pressure of being a new mother and the exhaustion from taking care of their infants can cause mothers to neglect their own oral health, resulting in tooth decay and periodontal disease. Given the intimate relationship between mothers and their babies, especially in the first three years, the mothers' oral hygiene habits can have a direct impact on the health condition of their infants. Professor Lo said, "Very often, mothers share their food or feed their children after having chewed on the food. The bacteria for tooth decay can be passed to the kids through these actions. As a result, the oral health of the mothers can have an effect on the health of their children as well."

Follow "The Ten-Minute Rule" by Chewing Sugar-Free Gums for Perfect Clean Teeth after Each Meal

Professor Lo reiterated that oral health is fundamental to the general health and wellbeing of a person. In particular, mothers should not only set a good example for their kids, but also check their oral conditions that might affect the oral health of kids. They should follow the "four dental hacks to perfect clean teeth", including go for regular dental check-ups, use fluoride toothpaste for tooth brushing in the morning and before bedtime, use dental floss or mouthwash containing fluoride daily as well as chew sugar-free gum after eating or drinking.

Professor Lo also explained that saliva is a natural weapon to neutralize the acid in the mouth and chewing sugar-free gums will increase the secretion of saliva by 10 times (when comparing to resting state). There are three main benefits of increasing saliva secretion, including lower the acidity in the mouth, replenish the lost mineral ions on the tooth surfaces that are damaged by plaque acid and help to remove the residue sweet food on the teeth. To all mother and kids, chewing two pieces of sugar-free gums for five to ten minutes after each meal helps to stimulate the secretion of saliva and neutralize the acid in the mouth. By doing so, not only it helps curb the formation of plaque and other acidic substances, it can also clear the food residue in the gaps of the teeth and reduce stickiness on the tooth surfaces. To maximize the effectiveness, all of the mothers should stick with "The Ten-Minute Rule" by chewing sugar-free gums within ten minutes after each meal or after drinking which can effectively prevent acid to damage tooth surfaces.

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Wrigley is a recognized leader in confections with a wide range of product offerings including gum, mints, hard and chewy candies, and lollipops. Wrigley's world-famous brands -- including Extra®, Orbit®, Doublemint®, and 5™ chewing gums, as well as confectionery brands Skittles®, Starburst®, Altoids® and Life Savers® -- create simple pleasures for consumers every day. With operations in more than 50 countries and distribution in more than 180 countries, Wrigley's brands bring smiles to faces around the globe. The company is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, employs approximately 17,000 associates globally, and operates as a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated.