Pregnancy is not a good time to skip your routine dental check-up or slack off on your oral care. Preventative dental care is not only safe during pregnancy, but it is highly recommended. The massive increase in a woman’s hormones during pregnancy causes the gums to swell, bleed, and trap food causing increased gum irritation. If you do not take your preventative dental care seriously during pregnancy, you may be at risk for gingivitis. Nearly %50 to %70 of all pregnant women will experience the oral health side effect of pregnancy gingivitis, usually between the 2nd and 8th month of pregnancy.
When progesterone levels rise, it causes an increase in bacteria growth around the gums. To make matters worse, pregnancy makes gum tissue even more susceptible to plaque than normal. It may require extra effort to brush well and floss daily, especially to moms who experience morning sickness or extreme nausea, but your health and your baby’s health depend on your disciplined oral health care.
There is evidence that pregnancy gingivitis is linked to preterm birth. One study in The Journal of the American Dental Association revealed that expecting mothers that had persistent or chronic gum disease were four to seven times more likely to give birth prematurely to underweight babies. This should be reason enough to get pregnant moms back in the dental chair.
The American Pregnancy Association gives moms-to-be these helpful suggestions for addressing dental work needs:
- The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that pregnant women eat a balanced diet, brush their teeth thoroughly with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste twice a day, and floss daily
- Have preventive exams and cleanings during your pregnancy
- Let your dentist know you are pregnant
- Postpone non-emergency dental work until the second trimester or until after delivery, if possible
- Elective procedures should be postponed until after the delivery
- Maintain healthy circulation by keeping your legs uncrossed while you sit in the dentist’s chair
- Take a pillow to help keep you and the baby more comfortable
- Bring headphones and some favorite music
Be sure you to contact your dentist right away if you notice signs of pregnancy gingivitis or other oral health side effects during your pregnancy.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,