Throughout pregnancy women’s bodies go through huge changes in quite a short amount of time. The growing abdomen, the development of the baby, and the huge fluctuations in hormones in just nine months is a lot for the body to go through. The entire body is a very complex and intricate machine that works together, and every part of the body has an effect on the other parts of the body. The hormonal changes that women experience during pregnancy increase their risk for developing oral health problems, including gum disease.
Gum disease in its simplest form is called gingivitis, and it is estimated that 40% of women will develop some form of gingivitis during their pregnancy. The medical term for this is simply known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” and it is important for women to understand the impact that it can have on their pregnancy.
As the progesterone levels rise during pregnancy, the gums are more sensitive to the plaque that develops on the teeth each day. Flossing daily and brushing at least twice a day are essential for removing plaque buildup in order for the gums to not quickly react to the bacteria within the dental plaque, causing infection. Any signs of gingivitis need to be evaluated by your dentist as soon as possible. Signs include: tender, swollen gums, gums that bleed easily while brushing, very red gum tissue.
The gum tissue is living tissue within the mouth with direct links to the blood system. Any infection within the gums will pass through to the body. For pregnant women, this means that not only are they vulnerable to infection but their growing babies are as well. Gum disease, both in its earliest stage of gingivitis and in its more prominent stage called periodontitis, has been directly linked to problems in pregnancy. Gum disease can cause miscarriage, preterm labor, and low birthweight babies – putting women’s pregnancies and the health of their babies in extreme danger.
At Group Health Dental, we are here for our patients and all of their oral health care needs. Women who are pregnant will be given the most specific prenatal dental care possible in order to prevent gum disease or to catch it at its earliest stage. If you are pregnant, please call to schedule an appointment so that we can help you achieve a healthy pregnancy.