Being a mom-to-be comes with a lot of joy and excitement, but it can also come with health changes and sacrifices. During pregnancy, it is easy to get hyper focused on making sure everything is perfect for your little one – the nursery, clothes, food, intellectually engaging toys, baby proofing your home. Enough so that often, our health can be put on the back burner.
To ensure the health of your baby, your health has to be just as much a priority. A visit to the dentist is the perfect way to maintain great health for you – and your baby.
How are Dental Health and Pregnancy Connected?
During pregnancy, the increased hormones your body creates can affect your body’s built-in response to plaque. There are a few pregnancy-specific situations that can contribute to a decline in oral health:
- Heightened levels of exhaustion, which can cause you to skip regular hygienic routines
- Morning sickness, which can cause stomach acid to settle in the mouth and weaken tooth enamel
- Eating more foods with high levels of sugar or salt due to cravings, which can cause an excess of plaque buildup
While an increase in bleeding in the gums is no cause for concern for pregnant women, certain dental signs need to be watched out for.
- Gingivitis, a gum inflammation disease, which is more likely to occur during the second trimester. Symptoms include swelling of gums and excessive bleeding.
- Pregnancy Epulis or Pyogenic Granuloma, a localized enlargement of the gums which often requires additional professional cleanings throughout pregnancy.
- Periodontal Disease, which can increase or worsen chronic gum infections, is caused by untreated gingivitis and can lead to tooth loss and other, more urgent, health concerns.
If left unchecked, dental issues while pregnant can lead to health complications not only for you but for your baby as well. Studies have shown a link between gum disease and premature births, low birth weight, and future health problems for your child.
To help support both your health and your baby’s health, it’s essential to add heightened dental care to your prenatal plan. It is recommended to visit your dentist for regular cleanings 3 times during the course of your pregnancy so that gums stay healthy and clean.