At some point early in your pregnancy your OB/GYN will recommend that you visit your dentist for a checkup. You may find yourself wondering why the health of your teeth would affect your unborn child. After all, you brush your teeth every day and floss on a regular basis. Why change your habits during pregnancy?
Oral Health Affects Whole Health
As with many other changes in your body during the nine months of gestation, your gums or teeth can go through changes as well. It has also been researched and proven that there are links between gum disease during pregnancy and low birth weight or even premature birth. Hormonal surges in your body can lead to swelling in your gums. Even with regular brushing, your chances for gum disease or gingivitis increase, and that could harm the health of you and your baby.
The Problem with Progesterone
The hormone that causes most of the swelling is progesterone. As the levels of progesterone increase, the more likely you are to experience bloating or swelling in areas of your body including your gums. This swelling and tenderness in your gums has the potential to become infected. When gums become infected you are diagnosed with periodontal disease and it requires treatment using pain relievers, mouth rinse, and even antibiotics. Any drugs taken during pregnancy will affect the baby in some way even antibiotics.
Along with gum disease the increased levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause bone and tissues in the mouth to lose strength which can, in fact, loosen teeth. Combined with periodontitis, this weakening of bones can lead to loss of teeth during pregnancy.
What You Can Do
Schedule regular checkups during pregnancy so that your dentist identify any potential problems with your teeth and gums. Let your dentist know if your gums have become inflamed, tender, and especially if they are bleeding. If you experience tooth aches or pain in your mouth it is possible you are experiencing some type of tooth decay which can lead to dental procedures like fillings. Your dentist has options for treatment safe to use during pregnancy.
To stay healthy throughout your pregnancy be sure to eat whole nutritious food with a low sugar content. Taking care of yourself during pregnancy includes regular dental exams along with rest, exercise, and a healthy diet. Taking care of your teeth is an important part of overall health both before, during, and after pregnancy.
Would like to know more about oral health contact the Central Dental location nearest you or give us a call at 501-475-2483.