Saint Paul Dentistry Discusses Pregnancy and Oral Health

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It is normal for many women to experience an increase in dental problems during pregnancy. You've probably heard the old wives' tale, “A tooth lost for every child.” While it may seem far-fetched, it actually is based loosely in fact. Just as other tissues in your body are affected by the hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, so are your teeth and gums. More importantly, you should be aware that the health of your gums may also affect the health of your unborn child.

How does pregnancy affect teeth and gums?

‘Pregnancy Gingivitis’ affects about half of all women who become pregnant. This condition can cause swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue. A more serious condition, periodontal disease (a serious gum infection) may affect the health of your baby.

Is periodontal disease linked to preterm low birth-weight babies?

Studies have suggested that a possible relationship exists between periodontal disease and preterm, low birth weight babies. However, research in this area is inconclusive. Because pregnant women with periodontal disease have a potential to have a baby born too early and too small, maintaining periodontal health during pregnancy is a wise precaution.

What steps can be taken to avoid this condition?

Obviously, a lifelong routine of proper oral hygiene, regular dental exams and cleanings at our Highland Park, MN Dentist Office are the best preventative for gum disease whether you are planning to become pregnant or not. Once you become pregnant be sure to advise our office, and make an appointment for a dental cleaning early in your pregnancy so that we can monitor you for any adverse changes. It is also wise to plan this early on as sitting in a dentist’s chair can become uncomfortable later in pregnancy.

Hormonal changes cause an increase in plague production which can lead to decay. If you are not already doing so, be sure that you are following a diligent at-home oral hygiene routine, brushing after meals, flossing twice a day and avoiding sweets (or at least brushing immediately after).