Pregnancy is a time of great excitement and anticipation. For nine months, women get to experience the growth and development of a new life inside of them. Nine months sounds like a long time to wait to meet someone, but in reality, nine months is a very short amount of time for life to be conceived, developed, and brought into the world. When thinking about those nine months as a relatively short span of time, it is easy to understand that certain changes happen rapidly. While a growing abdomen is an obvious change, drastic hormonal fluctuations are also occurring. The same hormones that are responsible for the development of the placenta inside the uterus are the same hormones that have an impact on oral health.
Inside the mouth are millions of bacteria that naturally take up residence on any given day. Oral bacteria are meant to be helpful bacteria. After a meal, snack, or any beverage other than water, tiny particles are left behind inside the mouth. Oral bacteria congregate around these particles and begin to break them down so that they do not linger for too long. However, their “helpfulness” quickly turns to harm as the bacteria begin producing acids to help their work go by faster. Acids eat their way through whatever is in their path, this being the tooth enamel and gum tissues inside the mouth. When the gums are irritated by acid-producing bacteria it becomes a real issue for women who are pregnant.
During pregnancy, the huge hormonal fluctuations that occur affect the tissues inside the mouth. Gingivitis is the earliest form of gum disease that causes tender, sore, and bleeding gums. If gingivitis is not given prompt attention and treatment during pregnancy, it can quickly advance to a more serious form of gum disease. This can occur rapidly because gingivitis can be aggravated by the huge fluctuations in hormones. With the mouth already vulnerable, oral health issues become very serious because gum disease has been directly related to the following complications:
- Preterm labor
- Low birthweight babies
At Westinghouse Dental, we offer exceptional dental care for expectant mothers. Dentistry is safe for pregnant women, and can often provide a healthier pregnancy. If you are expecting or planning to become pregnant, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment for a thorough exam and cleaning.