IF YOU ARE PREGNANT
Why Is It Important For Women To Take Care Of Their Oral Health During Their Pregnancy?
About half of women experience pregnancy gingivitis characterised by swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue. Possible causes are the hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy and poor oral hygiene. If left untreated, this may progress to a more serious condition called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a gum infection that destroys attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold teeth in the mouth. It may affect the health of your baby.
Studies have shown that pregnant women with periodontal disease are seven times more likely to give birth to a premature or underweight baby (preterm low birth weight baby). The likely culprit is a labor-inducing chemical found in oral bacteria called prostaglandin as very high levels of prostaglandin are found in women with severe cases of periodontal disease. Some pregnant women report large lumps in their gums. These are called pregnancy tumors and can be removed by a periodontist.
Advice For Pregnant Females
It is important to maintain good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and visiting a dentist regularly, preferably before pregnancy. Avoid sweet and sticky foods that tend to be high in refined sugars. Brush your teeth after each snack. If you are unable to brush your teeth after a snack or meal, rinse your mouth a couple times with water.
It is ideal to schedule your dental visit between the fourth and sixth month of your pregnancy because the first three months of pregnancy are most significant in your baby's growth. In the first trimester, x-rays, pain medication and dental anaesthetics are usually not prescribed unless they are necessary. In the last trimester, you may experience great discomfort sitting in the dental chair for too long.
In the case of an emergency visit, make sure your dentist knows you are pregnant.