Calling all expecting mothers! Have you been to the dentist lately?
More than a decade ago, scientists started questioning and investigating the notion that the placenta was a sterile environment – a claim that was long believed to be true. Now, we have definitive proof that the placenta carries an array of bacteria, both healthy and helpful to the fetus. One unexpected discovery, however, was the link between the mother’s oral hygiene and a healthy newborn.
When first examining the bacteria on a newborn, researchers expected only to find vaginal flora. Instead, they were surprised to find, they found that the “microbiome” hardly resembled the vagina’s at all; nor did it resemble an adult’s skin or gut microbiomes. After delving deeper into this surprising finding, they found the one similar bacterial colony – an adult mouth.
There’s been a proven link between gum disease and premature births, so this study provoked more curiosity: why is there such a strong connection between a healthy mouth and a healthy baby? It’s been suggested that perhaps these bacteria get dislodged when a pregnant woman brushes her teeth, and are sent through the bloodstream, eventually making their way to the placenta.
Although the reasons haven’t been proven, the connection is undeniable. Whether you’re expecting or not, a healthy mouth is important to maintain. If you’re interested in kicking up your dental health a notch, may we suggest oil pulling?