Q: Why is oral health important when you are pregnant?
A: During pregnancy, it is more important than ever to take better care of your teeth and gums. As part of a pregnancy, you experience significant bodily changes, including changes in your oral health. Pregnancy gingivitis is a condition that commonly occurs in the second or third month of pregnancy and can become more severe through the eighth month. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may cause a greater reaction to dental plaque, resulting in an increased amount of swelling, bleeding and redness of the gums. Research now suggests a link between gum disease in pregnant women and premature/low birth weight babies. A recent study, conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, suggests that every year as many as 45,500 premature births may be linked to gum disease. That is 19% of the 250,000 premature babies born every year- more than attributed to smoking and alcohol use combined. Treat your mouth as the gateway to your body, make sure it stays healthy!
Q: What can you do?
A: Since your oral health has implications that directly affect your pregnancy, it is extremely important to pay close attention to the signs of gum disease and other abnormalities in your mouth. Dental professionals recommend having more frequent dental cleanings. It is very important to maintain a proper daily oral care routine, including brushing and flossing. If tenderness, bleeding, gum swelling or anything else that concerns you occurs at any time during your pregnancy, see your general dentist immediately. Our concern for your total health including oral care is critical to your unborn baby's development. Early identification of oral health problems, such as gum disease, may help reduce the risk of complications in your pregnancy.