Pregnant woman encounter a myriad of changes in their body over a nine-month period. Some changes are very noticeable, such as a growing belly, while other changes are less obvious. Many women are unaware of the way in which pregnancy hormones affect their oral health. Did you know that as much as 70% of pregnant women experience gingivitis during the 2nd and 8th month? Pregnancy is not the time to slack off on preventive dental care or skip your six-month checkup.
The Gummy Truth
The most concerning dental complications linked to pregnant women happen in the gums. The significant increase in a woman’s hormones during pregnancy causes gums to swell, bleed and trap food. In addition, rising progesterone levels often cause an increase in bacteria growth around gums that are already more susceptible to plague than normal. Therefore, a woman’s mouth during pregnancy can be an open invitation for gingivitis and other gum problems. If diligent brushing and flossing are not followed, this gum irritation can quickly turn from pregnancy gingivitis to gum disease.
What exactly is the risk of not tending to your teeth and gums during pregnancy? 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 moms-to-be back in the dental chair.
It is important to realize that preventive dental care is not only encouraged but also safe during pregnancy. With not only your own health at risk but your baby’s too, it is worth the extra effort to push through the morning sickness you may be experiencing and brush and floss twice a day. Always let your dentist know that you are pregnant before you exam and call your dentist right away if you notice signs of pregnancy gingivitis. Park South Dentistry provides high quality dental care to pregnant patients and can make you feel at ease and comfortable during your appointment.