Carrying a child can be a strain on a woman, both physically and emotionally. A swelling belly and raging hormones can leave you exhausted, while a host of worries storm through your mind. With concerns over diet, delivery, nurseries, and childcare, it’s no wonder that many women overlook dental hygiene and check-ups. This is a mistake.
Pregnancy and Early Labor
The same hormones that cause weight gain and swollen ankles can cause increased inflammation in the mouth and gums. Any tiny problems that existed in the mouth before pregnancy, such as mild gingivitis or tartar build-up, will increase a great deal as hormone levels build. Since the mouth is connected closely with the bloodstream, this inflammation will pass quickly into the blood. Increased inflammation in the bloodstream causes an increase of the chemical compound prostaglandin, which has been shown to induce labor.
In short, neglecting your dental care during pregnancy can cause early labor. A few studies have found that women with advanced periodontal disease are 50% more likely to give birth to a baby with low birth weight, while women who develop gum disease during the 5th month of pregnancy have an increased risk of giving birth before the 37th week. With statistics like these, flossing and dental screenings suddenly seem much more important.
To reduce the risk of complications, women who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant should take especial care of their teeth and gums. Brushing and flossing are important for everyone, but these oral hygiene measures are particularly important when the health of your baby is at stake. Below are a few ways to ensure that your gums remain in tip-top shape during pregnancy:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush teeth thoroughly after every meal for two to three minutes.
- While brushing, angle the toothbrush towards your gums to clean below the gum-line, but don’t brush too hard.
- Floss at least once-a-day, making sure to remove any particles below the gum-line on both sides of each tooth.
- Keep up with your dental check-ups and cleanings.
This last step is extremely important, since your dentist can spot inflammation and infection in the gums long before you can. Ideally, a woman should receive a full oral examination and cleaning before she becomes pregnant and return for an additional check-up between the 4th and 6th month of pregnancy. If inflammation has developed in the gum tissue, it is vital for the dentist to treat the problem before the 7th month. A professional cleaning will also remove any tartar build-up before it has a chance to cause inflammation.
Simply Smiles Sarasota is your Florida source for the latest dentistry services. Set up your free dental consultation with Dr. Gekht today by calling 941-921-4654.