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
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.