Pregnancy is a time of great expectations and excitement whether you are pregnant with your first child or your fourth. Pregnancy is also a time when women experience extreme changes in their bodies over a very short amount of time. Growing another person takes a lot of work, and the changes in a woman’s body that occur during the nine months of her pregnancy do more than just grow her belly. Pregnancy causes huge shifts in hormones, and these shifts increase the risk of the expectant mother to develop periodontal disease. Periodontal disease in pregnant women is extreme inflammation and infection of the gum tissues, and it can pose life threatening circumstances to both mother and her unborn child.
Every human mouth is plagued with plaque that builds up on the teeth each day. Regular flossing and brushing helps to remove this plaque every day, but those who are not habitual about their oral hygiene routine will quickly develop plaque buildup. When plaque is not removed on a daily basis, it will begin to affect the gums – causing them to become red, swollen, tender, and bleed easily, which is called gingivitis. “Pregnancy gingivitis” affects most women at some point during their pregnancy. For women who take care to practice optimal oral hygiene, this is typically not an issue and will resolve once hormones settle down after delivery. However, for women who suffer from gingivitis before they become pregnant, the condition is most likely to worsen throughout pregnancy and lead to periodontitis.
Research has shown a direct link between periodontitis and miscarriage, pre-term delivery, and low birth weight babies. Bacteria that is present in the mouth can easily pass into the blood stream via irritated or infected gum tissues. Once the bacteria are in the blood stream, it has a direct path to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins which induce labor.
If you are thinking of becoming pregnant or you are already pregnant, it is important that you visit your dentist to have your mouth evaluated and diagnose any signs of gingivitis. At Family & Cosmetic Dental Care in Johns Creek, we are committed to helping all of our patients achieve and maintain optimal oral health. We truly care for our patients, and if you are pregnant, we already have your unborn child’s best interests in mind.
Posted by Mitul Patel DDS, Family & Cosmetic Dental Care
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Suwanee, GA 30024
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