If you are expecting, congratulations! Not only are you creating a healthy baby, you will also want to maintain a healthy mouth. Now is a good time to be seeing your dentist as well as your obstetrician to get a checkup and thorough dental cleaning. Due to increased estrogen and progesterone, your oral health can seriously be affected by the way your gum tissue reacts to plaque.
Pregnancy Gingivitis: This condition arises because of the way your gums react to the increased hormonal changes. When you brush, your gums can swell and bleed. Beginning in the second month of pregnancy this can go on until about the eighth month. Once you have your baby your gums will go back to normal. If you have bleeding, swollen gums, or gingivitis, you will want to step up your oral hygiene routine. Our skilled dentists will remove tartar which can infect the gums if left untreated. Gingivitis is linked to pre-term delivery and low birth weight babies because of bacteria from infected gums which travels through the bloodstream to the uterus and triggers prostaglandins, which can induce labor.
Pregnancy Tumors: Women are vulnerable to pregnancy tumors—which happens to about 2%-10% of moms-to-be. These non-cancerous growths develop between teeth or swollen gums which are irritated. Arising from excess plaque build-up, they shrink once the baby is born. While uncomfortable they are not actually dangerous. They do however, bleed easily, and may form an ulcer or crust over. They are often caused by poor oral hygiene, hormones, viruses, or trauma.
What You Can Do: After seeing your dentist for a thorough cleaning, you will want to pay meticulous attention to your oral hygiene during your pregnancy. It is vital to brush and floss at least twice every day, and if morning sickness has you vomiting, don’t brush your teeth right away as acids in your mouth will erode tooth enamel. Rinse well with water to help remove acids before brushing, or try rinsing with baking soda and water to lower the pH (acid level) in the mouth. Eating healthy, avoiding sugary and starchy foods, and using antibacterial mouthwash can all help reduce plaque. Avoid dry mouth and stimulate saliva production by staying stay well hydrated with water.
There is no better time than now to take excellent care of your body and your oral health! At Smith & Stahr, General and Cosmetic Dentistry, we look forward to helping you along your journey. Please give us a call at 859.278.9391 if you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment!