Did you know that your pregnancy influences your dental health? Furthermore, your dental health might have an actual impact on your developing baby’s health. Here’s what you need to know to keep both you and your baby healthy:
Your gum health can be influenced by hormones. For this reason, women may experience changes in dental health during puberty, menopause, and pregnancy. A common condition, affecting between 50% and 70% of expectant mothers, is “pregnancy gingivitis” wherein pregnancy hormones contribute to inflammation in the gums, causing them to be swollen, sensitive, and prone to bleeding.
In order to prevent and treat pregnancy gingivitis, be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet, brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush, and floss every day, even if it might be uncomfortable. Don’t skip your regular check-ups! Professional cleanings can prevent and slow the progression of gum disease.
Gum Health and Preterm Labor
To add insult to injury, pregnant mothers who experience gum disease, especially if it’s severe, are much more likely to also experience preterm labor. Part of this trend is because unhealthy habits like smoking or harmful diets can contribute to both gum disease and preterm labor. However, the more we study it, the more we believe there to be a direct correlation between dental health and overall health, and so it’s important to take good care of your dental health in order to give your pregnancy the best chance at being healthy and full-term.
Is It Okay to Visit the Dentist while Pregnant?
Yes! It is. It’s true that we usually recommend that mothers take care of any major dental work before getting pregnant, or after the baby is born. However, dental visits during pregnancy is safe. The biggest danger is side effects that can be brought on by anxiety or anesthetics used during dental procedures. For this reason, we recommend that mothers try to schedule their appointments during the second trimester, when the pregnancy is stable and the mother is least likely to go into preterm labor.
That being said, emergency dental procedures are usually perfectly safe at any point during pregnancy. Just make sure to let your dental team know that you’re expecting, and any other medical conditions or medications that you’re dealing with. This helps us to give you the best care possible, and be vigilant against possible problems.