Becoming pregnant is one of the most special times in a woman’s life. Staying healthy for both you and your child is essential to giving birth to a healthy baby. However, what many women fail to realize is that dental health is also important to a healthy birth.
According to the CDC, 60 to 75% of pregnant women develop gum disease (gingivitis) during their pregnancy due to hormone changes in their body. This is very serious as gum disease can lead to premature birth.
As a practicing dentist for the last 20 years, I’ve worked with numerous women to help them have a healthy pregnancy. I’ve put together my list of things you can do to make sure your oral health stays in top shape during your pregnancy.
At Home Care
Good oral health always starts at home, and relies on sticking to a good oral care routine. This would involve brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. Each of these is important in their own right and skipping one could leave you susceptible to any number of dental related problems.
Another important consideration is diet. It can be difficult to resist cravings, but it’s important to limit your sugar intake. Sugar directly leads to more bacteria, cavities, and gum disease. The less sugar you eat, the better off your oral health will be.
At the Dentist
While taking care of your teeth at home is important, it’s just as essential to continue visiting your dentist during your pregnancy. A cleaning from a dental professional is the best way to remove built up plaque from your teeth, which if left untreated will cause further issues.
Dentists will also be able to evaluate your overall health including your gums. They’ll be able to recommend treatment if there are any issues and help make sure that you aren’t missing anything. This is important as the sooner you catch any potential issues the less likely they are to cause any complications.
Lastly, if you are diagnosed with any issues, don’t put off getting treatment. Most doctors will recommend having dental procedures done during your second trimester, so don’t delay if your dentist recommends it.
The sooner things are taken care of the better. The longer you wait the more likely you are to give the disease a chance to progress. Gum disease left untreated can enter your bloodstream and travel down to the placenta and uterus. Once there it can lead to the premature birth of your child, so this is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed.
Having poor dental health can lead to any number of overall health related issues during your pregnancy including premature birth. Taking care of your mouth and visiting your dentist is essential to a healthy pregnancy. Make sure to follow the tips above, and you’ll be one step closer to a happy, healthy birth.