Most expectant mothers are aware that it is extra important to take care of their health - and that of their unborn child - during pregnancy. Therefore they will eat well, do some gentle exercise and take care to attend their prenatal appointments. However, not all pregnant women realize that it is also essential that they take special care of their oral health during the period. This is because the hormonal changes in the body can raise the risk of developing a number of dental related ailments, which can be detrimental to the health of the mother and the fetus.
Dental Problems In Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, hormonal changes in the body allow you to support the growing baby. But there are other consequences of these changes, such as increased blood flow to the gums which will aid the formation of dental problems such as plaque or gingivitis. If a woman's additional nutritional needs aren't being met during pregnancy then she may also find that her calcium levels deplete and weaken her tooth enamel. It is very important that this is discussed with either a prenatal doctor or a dentist, and that you attend regular dental checkups throughout the pregnancy.
Gingivitis In Pregnancy
The most common oral complaint in pregnancy is gingivitis, which puts the person at risk of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is not just a cause of bad breath - it can trigger serious health issues. Many pregnant women will find that their gums recede as a result of periodontal disease, which may lead to tooth loss in later life. But of more concern to many women is the fact that periodontal problems may be a risk to the fetus.
Scientific studies have highlighted that there is a significant correlation between gum disease in the mother and low birth weight in the baby. In the worst cases, the infection from severe periodontal disease can even enter the blood stream. If this happens, the body will produce antibodies to fight the infection which can also, in a small number of mothers, trigger early labor. Where the gum disease is severe and predates the pregnancy, periodontal problems have also been linked with early miscarriages.
Women are more at risk of developing benign growths on their gums during pregnancy, as a result of the irritation caused by periodontal issues or plaque accumulation. These tumors should not pose a risk to either the expectant mother or the unborn child, and should disappear without intervention. However, they can cause mild discomfort and may cause the woman to feel self conscious if the growths form in a visible position.
Good Oral Health In Pregnancy
A good oral health care routine in pregnancy should follow the same principles as for any other time. This means brushing a minimum of twice a day and careful flossing before bedtime. A dental hygienist will be able to give you more advice if your dental care is not as good as it could be, in order to avoid any problems from developing during the pregnancy. It is also essential that pregnant women increase their intake of essential vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin C.
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Article Added on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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