Pregnancy and Oral Health.

 

Pregnancy has different effects in the woman’s overall health condition. Most women notice several changes in the gums during this period. The changes include redness and bleeding of the gums and severe swelling. These changes are known as pregnancy gingivitis that usually starts in the second month of pregnancy. They increase around the eighth month and decrease after child birth. This condition is usually in the front area of the mouth. Progesterone level in the body can reach up to ten percent higher than the normal level which can improve certain bacterial growth that results to gingivitis.

In order to reduce oral gingivitis, a good oral hygiene should be observed. Flossing must be done every day and brushing at least twice a day for two minutes. Antimicrobial mouthwash is advisable to prevent gum infection.

Pregnant women are also at risk of developing pregnancy tumors, inflammatory, non- cancerous growths that develop when swollen gums become irritated. The tumor usually develops in the second trimester or pregnancy where red nodules are commonly found in the upper gum line. However, red nodules can be found anywhere in the mouth as well. These nodules bleed easily and form a crust or ulcer. Normally, the tumors are left alone and they usually shrink on their own after the baby’s birth. But, if a tumor is uncomfortable and interferes with chewing, brushing or other oral hygiene procedures, the dentist may decide to remove it.

Tooth loss is another condition for pregnant women due to severe morning sickness or frequent vomiting which can affect the enamel of the front teeth

Dry mouth is also a common effect of pregnancy. It can be prevented by drinking a lot of water and having hard candies that are free from sugar or gum that is sugarless to help in the stimulation of saliva.

Research suggests that there is a possible link between gum disease and pre-term, low birth weight babies. Excess bacteria can enter the blood stream through the gums and if this happens, the bacteria can travel to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which are suspected to induce premature labor. Though the findings are inconclusive, we know that preventive dental care during pregnancy improves oral health and overall health and is safe for both the mother and child.

Gums and teeth need special attention during pregnancy so proper nutrition and regular flossing and brushing are important.

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