Expectant mothers (and women who take some oral contraceptives) experience elevated levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This causes the gums to react differently to the bacteria found in plaque, and in many cases can cause a condition known as "pregnancy gingivitis." Symptoms include swollen, red gums and bleeding of the gums when you brush. Remember that the bacteria in the plaque (not hormones) is what causes gingivitis. Brush twice a day and floss before you go to bed to help avoid plaque build-up.
New research suggests a link between pre-term, low birth weight babies and gingivitis. Excessive bacteria, which causes gingivitis, can enter the bloodstream through your mouth (gums). If this happens, the bacteria can travel to the uterus, triggering the productions of chemicals called "prostaglandins," which are suspected to induce premature labor.
Good oral health care is vital during your pregnancy. Continue with your regular dental cleanings and checkups to avoid oral infections, such as gingivitis and periodontal disease, that can affect the fetus.
Dentists recommend that major dental treatments that aren't urgent be postponed until after your child is born. The first trimester, the stage of pregnancy in which most of the baby's organs are formed, is the most crucial to your baby's development, so it is best to have procedures performed during the second trimester to minimize any potential risk.
If you have any concerns about the treatment or medications, make sure to ask your dentist or physician before receiving treatment. Most dental procedures are safe during pregnancy.
If a women experiences morning sickness, it is important to neutralize the acid caused by vomiting which causes tooth erosion. Patients can use a paste made of baking soda and water, rubbing it on the teeth. After 30 seconds, rinse off paste, then brush and floss. If this is not possible, rinse with water.
If you have any questions about your oral health, Dr. Mahlin would be happy to discuss them with you.