To keep mom and baby healthy during pregnancy it is essential for expecting mothers to take care of all aspects of their physical health. Oral health, which involves caring for the gum and teeth of the mouth, is no exception to this rule.
Dental health during pregnancy is important for many reasons. Not only can poor oral hygiene impact pregnancy outcomes, but mothers-to-be also have a greater risk for developing more oral health problems in the first place. Let’s explore the importance of dental health during pregnancy at length:
How Does Oral Health Affect Pregnancy Outcomes?
While it might be tempting for expecting mothers to skip the dentist when dealing with pregnancy-related doctor appointments, this can leave a negative impact in more ways than one. This is because gum disease and cavities can harm both the baby and mother. One surprising way oral health connects to pregnancy outcomes is the link between premature labor and chronic gum disease.
Chronic gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease, correlates with premature labor and low birth weight. Studies found that women with chronic gum disease entering labor were four to seven times more likely to deliver early than those without it. 1
3 Common Oral Health Concerns To Look Out For In Pregnancy
While a fetus is growing and developing in the body, expectant mothers go through many physical changes across the span of their pregnancies. Some of the most common oral health concerns that are exacerbated or caused by pregnancy include:
#1: Increased Risk For Gingivitis
Believe it or not, pregnancy hormones can impact the health of the gums. Around 60-75% of pregnant women develop gingivitis due to the increase of progesterone in the body. 2 Progesterone not only changes blood supply to the gums, but it also affects how the body responds to the bacteria in plaque.
Gingivitis is a milder form of periodontal disease that can usually be reversed with proper oral hygiene. However, when left untreated, gingivitis worsens and develops into more severe cases of periodontal disease. Some of the symptoms of gum disease that pregnant women should look out for include halitosis (bad breath), swollen and red gums, pain after brushing or eating, receding gum line, and spaces between the teeth. 3
#2: Pregnancy Tumors
Pregnancy tumors are red and swollen lumps found around the gum line during pregnancy in 10% of women and are more commonly found in those with gum disease and extra plaque buildup. 1 These tumors, though non-cancerous and not dangerous, are prone to bleeding and can make chewing uncomfortable.
#3: Increased Risk For Cavities And Enamel Erosion
Many pregnant women have changes to their dietary preferences and have strong food and beverage-related cravings. Shifts to eating more sticky, chewy, or sugary food increase the risk for cavities. Not only this, but pregnant women who deal with vomiting induced by morning sickness also have an increased risk for cavities and erosion. This is because the stomach acids in vomit can cause a teeth’s enamel to erode more quickly.
Regular Dental Visits With Empire Dental Care Are A Pregnancy Must
To keep both a mother and baby healthy throughout the course of a pregnancy, scheduling regular dental appointments is an absolute must. Dental appointments, cavity, and gum-related treatments are completely safe and beneficial for women to continue while pregnant.
To help treat gum disease, cavities, and any other oral health concerns, contact the team of dental professionals at Empire Dental Care today. 585-671-1650