Pregnancy is such an exciting time! Expectant mothers have so much to think about, but oral health is not usually top of mind. However, it is a vital part of a healthy, full-term pregnancy. Hormones escalate rapidly in pregnant women and make them more receptive to gum disease, which can affect the growing baby. When the hormones fluctuate, blood flow increases throughout the body, including the gums. Red, swollen, sensitive gums are characteristics of a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis.”
The increased level of hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone, are associated with an uptick in dental plaque, which harbors toxins in bacteria. Swollen, bloody gums are a portal for problematic bacteria. As your blood pumps through your body, bacteria sail along and transfer to other areas of the body. For pregnant women, this can be the placenta, where your baby is getting its nutrients and life support.
“Pregnancy gingivitis” usually clears up on its own shortly after a woman delivers her baby. But until it resolves, it is of great concern to the health of the mother and child. This specific gingivitis can lead to a more serious periodontal condition and has been associated with:
- Pregnancy-specific high blood pressure, known as preeclampsia
- Preterm delivery from inflammation of the placenta
- Babies with low birthweight
Fortunately, vigilant oral healthcare can reduce symptoms of and even eliminate “pregnancy gingivitis.” Taking these extra steps will help you ward off problems:
- Floss frequently to remove dangerous plaque
- Brush after each meal
- Rinse your mouth with salt water or baking soda after vomiting during morning sickness
- Remove sugary foods from your regular diet
- Reduce snacking
- Visit our office for a comprehensive exam and a thorough cleaning
It is important not to postpone dental treatment while you are pregnant. More than any other time your oral health should take top priority to safeguard the health of both mom-to-be and baby. Be sure to tell the hygienist and dentist about your good news. At South Texas Dental, we welcome you to contact us and schedule your appointment for a gentle, safe evaluation and a thorough, protective cleaning.
Posted on Behalf of South Texas Dental