Proper dental care can easily be overlooked with everything going on during your pregnancy. When women are pregnant, maintaining oral hygiene by brushing and flossing teeth on a regular basis is important. Recent studies indicate that pregnant women with excellent oral health were less likely to give birth prematurely. Because a premature infant often has serious health issues that may last a lifetime, preventing periodontal disease is vital. Periodontal disease causes inflammation in the mouth near the gums where bacteria often invade underlying tissue such as bone and the roots of teeth. These bacteria can also invade the bloodstream of a woman and travel through the umbilical cord to affect an unborn infant.
Regular Dental Office Visits Can Help Women Avoid Gingivitis
Gingivitis is related closely to periodontal disease and involves early inflammation of the soft tissues in the mouth. With regular visits to a dentist, women are not likely to develop gingivitis due to interventions such as removing debris from caries in the teeth and scraping away plaque that contains bacteria. However, studies indicate that nearly 60 percent of women do not visit a dentist during pregnancy. Additionally, over 30 percent of women have not had a dental examination in the past year. Most of the pregnant women who do not visit dentists are in lower economic groups without insurance or cash for dental care, leading to a larger number of premature infants.
Poor Dental Care Can Lead to Cardiovascular Disease
The plaque that develops on teeth contains bacteria that travel into a woman’s body to affect her arteries and heart. During pregnancy, hormone levels change, leading to more acidity in the mouth that makes it easier for bacteria to multiply and infect teeth or gum tissue. Some pregnant women develop dry mouth that creates an environment where dental problems increase such as loose teeth from relaxed tendons in the gum tissue. Other women experience a huge increase in saliva production in the mouth that can cause a moist environment that causes hard tartar near the bases of their teeth. Alternatively, some pregnant women have morning sickness that leads to mild to intense vomiting with strong acids that affect the oral cavity.
Dentists Can Save Loose Teeth During a Woman’s Pregnancy
Many women experience bleeding gum tissue and loose teeth during their pregnancies. This condition is often hereditary but also affects women with poor nutritional or oral health habits. There are women who develop looser teeth despite the best daily hygiene. With regular visits to a dental facility, a dentist can find this dental problem in its earliest stages to provide remedies such as using dental bridges or appliances to stabilize teeth. Bleeding gums can indicate that a woman has inflammation in her mouth that requires specialized treatment to avoid future loss of teeth.
Begin Dental Care Before a Pregnancy
While dentists today know how to protect developing embryos and fetuses during pregnancy, it is better for a woman to have major dental issues repaired before becoming pregnant. Schedule dental visits before pregnancy to have a tooth cleaning procedure along with having cavities filled. If there are major dental problems such as extensive tooth decay or gum disease, then have these issues treated before a pregnancy. Major surgeries such as dental implants or root canals are advised before pregnancy to avoid needing X-rays or pain medications. Use a toothpaste containing fluoride to brush teeth at least twice a day to remove food debris and floss teeth each evening to remove plaque from between teeth and along the gums.
Related Content: The Role of Protein During Pregnancy
Most women recognize that the foods they eat play a huge part in helping their child to grow in the uterus. The quality and composition of foods eaten during pregnancy is just as important as the amount of food eaten. Protein is particularly useful because it helps to form new cells and build the body of the fetus.