If you’re pregnant, chances are the last thing on your mind is your oral health. You’ve got bigger things to worry about! But what you might not realize is that pregnancy can actually increase your risk for dental problems including gum disease. What’s worse, some studies even show a link between gum disease and premature birth. Paying attention to pregnancy and oral care will not only benefit you, but will ensure that your baby will arrive healthy and happy.
The Link Between Pregnancy and Gum Disease
When you’re pregnant, your body goes through all kinds of changes and many of these changes affect your oral health. Increased levels of hormones in your body such as progesterone and estrogen make your gums and teeth particularly vulnerable to oral disease. In addition, changes in your eating habits—an inevitable part of pregnancy—can affect your dental health in negative ways.
The most common gum disease that pregnant women suffer from is gingivitis. Studies show that between 60 and 75 percent of pregnant women come down with this minor form of gum disease, in which the gums become red and swollen. If this gingivitis is not tended to properly, it can develop into a more serious disease caused periodontitis. Periodontitis causes serious infection in the gums and can lead to your teeth becoming loose and falling out. Other more serious symptoms that may result from periodontitis are bacteremia, in which bacteria get into the blood stream, and pregnancy complications, including pre-term birth and low birth weight.
Pregnancy and Oral Care Explained
Luckily, there are ways to prevent any unwanted dental issues when you’re pregnant. The most important preventative measures are to maintain your oral hygiene and to visit regularly with your dentist. Clearly, you have a lot on your mind when you’re pregnant, but it’s still vital that you brush and floss regularly. Checking in with your dentist can ensure that you are not developing any harmful dental issues.
Another thing you can do is to try to eat as many healthy foods as possible. Managing your diet can be difficult when you’re pregnant, but eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole-grain foods, while avoiding sweets, can help protect your teeth—and those of your baby’s—from cavities.
Contact Temple Family Dentistry
If you have any questions about choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste—or about any aspect of your dental health—Temple Family Dentistry is here to help. Give us a call today at (610) 929-4252 or fill out the form below to find out more