A woman’s oral health can affect her overall health at any time of her life, but it is especially true during pregnancy. The hormonal shifts and nutritional needs occurring in the body of a pregnant woman can also affect the unborn child’s health. It is important to maintain good dental care habits and continue with regular visits to the dentist at least twice a year for an exam and professional cleaning during pregnancy.
One of the most pressing oral health issues that can occur during pregnancy is gum disease. The increased levels of the hormone progesterone in a pregnant woman’s body make the gums extra sensitive to plaque build-up. This can cause inflamed gums that bleed during brushing.
Even though hormonal changes instigate the reaction to the plaque, it is still the presence of the plaque that is causing the gingivitis. As a result, the dentist may recommend more cleanings than usual during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
If untreated, pregnancy gingivitis can lead to other issues. There are studies that show a link between gum disease and low birth-weight babies and babies that are born prematurely. Early research indicates that the gingivitis causes the body to increase the levels of fluids in the body that can trigger labor.
Pregnant women can also experience small growths on the gums, which are known as pregnancy tumors. They generally occur during the second trimester, and are caused by a reaction to plaque. If you notice pregnancy tumors, schedule an appointment with the dentist because they may need to be removed.
It is a good idea to carefully monitor your diet during pregnancy. Not only do you need to provide nutrition for yourself, you must provide nutrition for the developing systems of the child; however, it is a myth that calcium is lost from the mother’s teeth during her pregnancy.
Unborn children get all the calcium they need from the mother’s diet, generally. If there is a deficiency, the mother’s body will transfer calcium to the child from her bones, not her teeth.
Avoid sticky, sweet snacks and overly acidic foods when pregnant because they aren’t very nutritious and can exacerbate the gum disease issues pregnant women face.
To learn more about the affect pregnancy can have on oral health, contact the Barrie ON office of Drs. Stephen Crosby and Adam Tan today.