The Importance of Proper Dental Care During Pregnancy

shutterstock_151928792During pregnancy, a mom-to-be visits her gynecologist regularly. It is also important for her to consider her oral health. Statistically, mothers with gum disease have an elevated risk of giving birth early or having a baby with a low birth weight. As hormones change, other problems may develop as well. It is essential to understand the importance of solid oral care throughout pregnancy.

Developing Gingivitis. The shift in hormones often causes gums to become inflamed and susceptible to gingivitis. To avoid serious plaque buildup, it is necessary to brush with a fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and visit a dentist for a professional cleaning.

Periodontal Infections. One possible bacterial infection in the mouth is periodontal disease. Although it strikes the gums, it can be passed through the uterus to an unborn baby. The bacteria can trigger prostaglandin production, which often leads to premature labor. This raises the risks of a stillbirth or other fetal deformities.

Dental Tumors. During a woman’s first trimester, dental tumors are common. They occur between the teeth and take the shape of painless lumps. Usually, they disappear after giving birth. However, if they are extremely large and do not go away, a special procedure is needed to remove them.

Avoid Enamel Erosion. Morning sickness is a common side effect of pregnancy. Besides the annoying queasy feelings, it may cause vomiting that fills the mouth with acid. To prevent this acid from eroding tooth enamel, it is advised to rinse with a teaspoon of baking soda and water.

Attempting Proper Dental Care During Pregnancy. After a woman discovers she is pregnant, she must practice a nutritional diet. Besides eating foods filled with vitamins and minerals, it is wise to limit sugar intake. Although it is common to give into sweet cravings, snacking on fruits and vegetables is preferred. Without excess sugar in the mouth, plaque will not have an environment that encourages growth.

According to the American Dental Association, it is vital for a pregnant woman to schedule regular oral examinations with her dentist. This professional will chart a successful hygiene routine, treat existing decay, and answer further questions about how proper dental care positively affects pregnancy.

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