Importance of Keeping Teeth and Gums Healthy During Pregnancy

Manhattan periodontistIf you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s important to give extra attention to your oral hygiene routine. Healthy gums go hand in hand with a healthy pregnancy.

The hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, the increase in estrogen and progesterone, can increase a woman’s risk of developing gum disease and cause symptoms like bleeding, red or swollen gums.

As such, expectant mothers often develop gingivitis in the first trimester, and the condition may persist and become more severe throughout the rest of the pregnancy. It’s important to note that women without a prior history of gingivitis are less likely to get gingivitis during pregnancy.

When periodontal disease is present during pregnancy, however, it is correlated with a number of negative outcomes. Gum disease can increase an expectant mother’s risk of preeclampsia and premature birth. Periodontal disease is also associated with low birth weight. 

If you do develop gum disease during pregnancy, consult with a periodontist to identify what gum disease treatment is necessary and to determine the appropriate timing of the intervention.

If you do develop gum disease during pregnancy, consult with a periodontist to identify what gum disease treatment is necessary and to determine the appropriate timing of the intervention.

A periodontist also can make recommendations for the patient’s oral hygiene routine to minimize the risk of developing periodontal disease during pregnancy. Preventing gum disease is a preferred option in comparison to treating the condition. Pregnant women also should consult with their dentists on the timing of routine dental cleanings.

Pregnancy is not the only hormonal issue that can affect a woman’s risk of gum disease. Even women who are actively trying to prevent conception may face an increased likelihood of periodontal disease if they are using hormonal contraception, such as birth control pills. It’s important to make your dentist aware of any factors that can influence your susceptibility to gum disease and be on the lookout for symptoms that are associated with the condition.

Good oral hygiene is just as important to expectant moms as a nutritious diet, adequate intake of vitamins and other healthy lifestyle habits. Be sure to brush and floss as recommended by your dentist to minimize the presence of oral bacteria and follow up with routine care, like cleanings and exams, as advised by your dental professionals.

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