Let’s face it; pregnancy does a number on a woman’s body. Changes in skin, taste, blood flow and weight are just a few areas that are impacted when a baby is growing inside. Although you’ll have an overwhelming list of things to stay on top of during as a mom-to-be, don’t let your oral health be an area that you neglect. In fact, slacking off on your dental hygiene and regular dental checkups can bring serious consequences to yourself and your new baby.
Pregnancy is associated with an increased risk for gum disease. The substantial increase in a woman’s hormones during pregnancy is responsible. When progesterone levels rise, it triggers an additional amount of bacteria growth around the gums. Any food that gets trapped beneath the gum line will further gum irritation and cause plaque accumulation. At this point, the gums may look red, swollen and/or bleed easily. As much as 50% to 70% of all pregnant women will experience pregnancy gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease. This typicallydevelops between the 2nd and 8th month of pregnancy.
The good news is that by staying on top of your oral health, you can avoid pregnancy gingivitis. It may require extra effort on your part, especially if you suffer from morning sickness and brushing and flossing is difficult to get through. However, practicing strong dental hygiene habits is important to your health and your baby’s health.
There are reports that show that pregnancy gingivitis is linked to preterm birth. In fact, a study in The Journal of the American Dental Association revealed that pregnant moms that had persistent or chronic gum disease were four to seven times more likely to give birth prematurely to underweight babies. Therefore, if you are expecting, you need to make sure you have a six-month dental exam on your calendar!
At Mitzi Morris DMD, we offer comprehensive dental care for patients of all ages and walks of life. If you are pregnant, you can trust that we will do everything we can to make your visit as comfortable as possible. Always let us know if you are expecting, even if it is in the early weeks, so that we can take necessary precautions. According to the American Pregnancy Associates, non-emergency dental work should be postponed until the second trimester or until after delivery. Let us work with you to ensure your smile stays healthy during such a special time in your life.