Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in a woman’s body due the influx of hormones. One of the changes many expecting mothers aren’t aware of is they may be more succpetible to oral problems; such as gum disease. A dental appointment during the first stage of pregnancy is important.
Gingivitis or periodontitis are forms of gum disease which affect gums, bones or ligaments surrounding the teeth and cause swollen gums. Your dentist can help you better understand the risk and signs of gum diseases during pregnancy.
Let’s take a look at the different forms of gum diseases and the associated risks during pregnancy:
It is a mild form of gum disease. Bleeding is one of the first signs to look out for. Other symptoms include red or swollen gums, sensitive teeth, shifting or wiggling teeth and receding gums. The hormones which are responsible for the development of placenta may also affect the gums. Also, if a woman is already suffering from gingivitis, it can be aggravated by the fluctuating progesterone and estrogen levels in pregnancy.
Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease and has been linked to low birth weight, preterm birth or both. If gingivitis is left untreated, it may result in periodontitis. It includes tenderness when biting, bad breath, loose teeth, receding gums and formation of pockets around teeth.
Pregnant women are also at an increased risk of tooth decay. For instance, most expecting mothers experience vomiting (especially during their first trimester) which can result in acidity in mouth. This makes teeth prone to decay. Pregnant ladies may also crave sugary foods and drinks due to hormonal changes. Consumption of such foods increases the chances of tooth decay and the increased estrogen and progesterone levels may affect the bones and ligaments supporting the teeth which may result in loosened teeth during pregnancy.
Studies in have shown low birth weight cases may be attributed to periodontal disease. Also, periodontal disease may trigger the release of labor-inducing chemicals in the body which can result in premature birth. In this case, complications such as breathing difficulties, chronic lung disease, feeding difficulties or temperature control difficulties can occur.
The stress on the mother’s body is increased during pregnancy since the nutrients consumed are provided to the fetus first. If the nutritional needs of mother are not met, all the aspects of her health can suffer including oral health. Surprisingly, not many expectant mothers know the importance of getting an oral health checkup.
Ideally you’ve had a regular dental check-ups before conceiving. Early detection of periodontal disease can reduce any associated negative impacts on the fetus. Expectant mothers should follow a strict oral hygiene routine to keep complications such as gum diseases at bay. Small steps such as switching to a softer toothbrush, rinsing your mouth after vomiting instead of brushing it directly can help you maintain a good oral health.
Grace Clark, is a dental marketer at Dr. Michael G. Long DDS, Fresno, CA and a believer in holistic health, Grace lives by the rule that health and happiness go hand in hand. She writes on various dental topics focusing on healthy living and holistic health. When she’s not working or blogging, she enjoys spending her time with her family and volunteering at the local youth centers. She educates children about the importance of health and fitness.