Pregnant women have an increased risk of periodontal disease, which is likely due to effects of hormonal changes. Furthermore, gum disease is correlated with a number of pregnancy complication risks, including pre-eclampsia, premature delivery and low birth weight. Therefore, if you are planning to conceive in the next few months, you should take certain steps to keep your smile healthy and maintain your oral health throughout your pregnancy.
Before you get pregnant, be sure to schedule a professional dental cleaning. You will not be able to have your teeth cleaned during your first trimester, so it’s important to take care of this task in advance. You can resume dental cleanings in your second trimester. You may also want to consult with a periodontist to make sure that you do not have any active gum disease prior to conception. If you do have periodontal disease, the periodontist can treat it and monitor you during your pregnancy to minimize your risk of problems.
Pregnant women should monitor their gums for symptoms of gum disease, like redness, swelling or bleeding in the gums, and consult with a periodontist if they notice any issues. Be aware that pregnancy increases the likelihood of gum tissue growths known as granulomas, which occur in about 10 percent of pregnant women. These should be evaluated as well.
In addition to getting appropriate professional dental care, you need to take good care of your smile at home, too. If you haven’t been so dedicated to an oral hygiene routine, this is the time to step it up. Brush your teeth at least twice each day for two minutes each time. Give extra attention to the areas where plaque tends to accumulate, such as the molars in the back of the mouth and along the gumline. You want to do everything possible to limit the oral bacteria that can cause gum disease. Daily flossing is also essential.
A healthy body – including a healthy smile – is important for an expectant mom and her baby. Make sure that you are doing everything possible to promote good oral health during pregnancy. If you experience any concerning dental symptoms or want to be evaluated before getting pregnant, call our team at Park Cities Periodontics and Implant Dentistry to schedule an appointment.