Why Periodontal Health Is Important When Expecting

Why Periodontal Health Is Important When Expecting

Pregnancy is an exciting time full of preparations for a new little one. It’s also a time when the body goes through countless changes from top to bottom. Most mothers-to-be notice the most obvious changes, ranging from weight gain to thicker hair. What they may not realize is that hormone shifts caused by pregnancy can impact their dental health. In fact, many women are shocked when their dentist finds multiple cavities following the birth of their child. Good periodontal health is essential while pregnant for the health of both moms and babies.

Greater Risk for Pre-Term Birth

Periodontal disease can cause infections, which can increase the levels of biological fluids that induce labor. Neglecting to adequately care for your teeth and gums during pregnancy can raise the risk of delivering before the 37-week mark. Preterm delivery can be dangerous for babies, as they may not yet be fully developed. These low-birth-weight babies are at risk for developmental delays and may even spend significant time in a neonatal intensive care unit following their entry into the world.

The Impact of Periodontal Disease

Nearly every pregnant woman deals with sore, swollen and bleeding gums, commonly known as “pregnancy gingivitis.” Proper oral hygiene is necessary to stop the issue from getting worse. Once gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease, it’s possible to become susceptible to other health concerns, including:

  • Tooth loss
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes

When brushing your teeth, make sure to focus the efforts around the gum line to get rid of plaque and bacterial build up. Flossing is an important part of a daily dental care routine too.

Women’s bodies sacrifice many nutrients as they work to grow tiny humans, which can leave the mouth without protection against bacteria. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can keep moms on the right healthy path as they get ready to welcome new life.

Periodontitis – Common or Uncommon?

Many people suffer from periodontitis. This is an infection of the gums that damages the soft tissues and actually damages the bones supporting your teeth. As a result of this problem, people can lose teeth or have other problematic dental issues. Also, periodontitis is linked to several health problems including hearts disease and stroke. Is this problem common or uncommon? 

Periodontitis Is Common

Periodontitis is actually pretty common. However, most people that have this problem could have prevented it with better oral hygiene habits. There are also certain factors that increase the risk of developing this condition:

  • Heredity
  • Tobacco use
  • Old age
  • Gingivitis
  • Diabetes
  • Decreased immunity
  • Pregnancy
  • Substance abuse
  • Poor bite

Preventing Periodontitis

It is important to try to prevent this problem from happening – especially if you have an increased risk of developing the disease. In order to do so, you need to implement better oral hygiene habits. This entails brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, and some people that are highly at risk also brush after meals. In addition to daily brushing, flossing is important because it helps remove the plaque build up and minimize the bacteria in your mouth.

One of the best ways to prevent the problem is to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and exams. During this time, your potential gum problems can also be treated before they develop into periodontitis.

Symptoms to Be Aware Of

Since periodontitis is common, it is important to recognize the symptoms of this problem. The following symptoms might indicate that you should seek the help of your dentist:

  • Swollen gums
  • Tenderness in the gums
  • Red or purple gums
  • Receding gums
  • Pus between the gums and teeth
  • Bad breath
  • New space between your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Bite changes
  • Weird taste in your mouth

Periodontitis has different levels of severity. If you think you have a problem, it is a good idea to work with your dentist to resolve it before it gets worse.