I’ve had a few patients in lately that were adorably pregnant and when I brought up the subject of pregnancy gingivitis, they weren’t familiar with the subject. Nearly half of pregnant women deal with this problem. It is brought on by the surge of hormones while pregnant as well as the increased amount of fluid retention. The typical symptoms include swollen or inflamed gum tissue, bleeding gums as well as tender gum tissue. Because of the tenderness, many women don’t keep up with proper home care and the condition worsens. The problem with that is not only are you increasing the risk of developing periodontal disease, but there is a link to what the bacteria in the plaque releases called Prostaglandins which can induce labor prematurely. This could potentially lead to low birth weight for the baby which has its own set of health complications.
The American Academy of Pediatric dentists has developed some guidelines to help future mothers keep their mouths healthy and help ensure a healthy pregnancy. Oral Health Education– Counseling with health care providers to understand the importance of good oral hygiene. Oral Hygiene– Removing the bacterial plaque with proper flossing and brushing is essential. Fluoride– Using a fluoride toothpaste as well as an alcohol-free fluoride rinse helps remove the amount of plaque in the mouth. Nutrition– Eating a proper and nutritious diet with unnecessary sugary foods to lessen the build up of plaque. Treating Existing Tooth Decay– Pregnant women are encouraged to have dental treatments, which experts agree is completely safe during pregnancy, to achieve optimum oral health. Removing tooth decay lessens the bacteria associated with it. Transmission of Bacteria– Pregnant mothers are discouraged from sharing food and utensils that can transfer bacteria causing tooth decay. Use of Xylitol Gum– Expectant mothers are encouraged to chew Xylitol (sugar-free) gum which research has found to decrease the rate of decay in children as well as help naturally cleanse the mouth by increasing salivation.
Many dentists agree, that seeing your dentist possibly more than once during your pregnancy is also a good idea in order to catch any possible problems associated with pregnancy gingivitis. So all of you mommies to be, come on in and let us help you with your oral health needs. Visit us on facebook and keep up with any news at the office or new dental developments!