Medical experts say that the bacteria in the mother’s mouth can be transmitted to the fetus through the blood. They said this could lead to the risk of low birth weight babies, neonatal infections and miscarriage.
The experts, a Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-ArabaDr. Clement Oluwarotimi; and a Consultant Prosthodontist/Implantologist and President, Nigerian Dental Association, Dr.KolawoleObagbemiro, said it has become necessary for pregnant women to know that good oral hygiene can help reduce complications in pregnancy and newborn babies.
“Poor oral health could be linked to low birth weight. When a lady has poor oral hygiene and doesn’t take care of her mouth, studies have shown that she will have a low-birthweight baby and it has to do with hormonal imbalance.
“The growth of the baby in the womb has to do with the hormonal balance of the woman, for the baby to have an appropriate environment to develop. And if any environment is not favourable for the baby, the baby will not attain the required weight.
“Bacteria in the blood can get to the heart; bacteria from the mouth can get to the bloodstream and then the heart muscle, which can lead to endocarditis,” said Dr Oluwarotimi
Endocarditis usually occurs when bacteria from other parts of the body pass through the blood and adhere to the damaged area of the heart. People with damaged heart valves or artificial heart valves or other heart diseases are at higher risk. Oluwarotimi, also a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos, said that people should try to eat a healthy, balanced diet and not wait to see the dentist when there is a medical problem.