Did you know that maintaining oral health during pregnancy is essential for both the mother and baby? Roughly half of the world’s population suffers from oral diseases. That’s 3.5 billion people having tooth decay or, worse, oral cancers.
What does this have to do with me?
When you are pregnant, it is important to monitor your health in order to take good care of your growing baby. What if we told you that this also includes giving some attention to your oral health during pregnancy?
Pregnancy results in many significant changes to a woman's body, which can affect not only your dental health but also your baby's development. Research shows that when soon-to-be mothers neglect their dental health, it can result in oral diseases—and possibly even premature births.
This article will explore the relationship between pregnancy and dental health and will offer tips for maintaining good dental hygiene even after giving birth.
Read on to learn more about common gum problems during pregnancy and what you can do to prevent them. Let’s keep your smile healthy to help keep your baby healthy!
Pregnancy Gingivitis Treatment
If you're pregnant and experiencing swollen or bleeding gums, don't panic—you're not alone! According to the CDC, gingivitis affects 60-75% of pregnant women. A study suggests a link between higher levels of pregnancy hormones in the bloodstream and a decline in the health of the gums, which are the tissues that hold your teeth in place. The increase in hormone levels, particularly the levels of estrogen and progesterone, can affect the flow of blood to the gums.
When these hormones rise, they affect the body's response to bacteria in the mouth. As a result, you may find that during pregnancy your gums become more sensitive and prone to swelling, bleeding, and infection.
Fortunately, there are practical ways to ease the discomfort:
- One effective tip is to use a warm saltwater rinse. Mix a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water and swish the solution around your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. Saltwater rinses can help to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria in the mouth.
- Of course, brushing your teeth should always be at the top of your dental health routine. Brushing your teeth twice a day is enough. If you experience morning sickness, you should wait at least an hour before you brush your teeth. Good oral hygiene also includes flossing. Your toothbrush can reach only some surfaces; flossing can reach spots that are harder to clean.
Other Potential Causes Of Bleeding Gums
Pregnancy tumors are another potential cause of bleeding gums. Pregnancy tumors are overgrowths of tissue that can develop on the gums, usually during the second trimester. Although these tumors are not cancerous, they can cause discomfort and bleeding and may require treatment if they affect your eating habits or oral hygiene.
How To Manage Bleeding Gums
Managing bleeding gums during your pregnancy is mainly a matter of practicing good oral hygiene. But if brushing and flossing are already in check, you may want to add using an antiseptic mouthwash. It’s great for stopping the growth of bacteria in your mouth, and it also helps reduce inflammation and promotes healing.
To make sure that you always stay on top of your oral health during pregnancy, regular dental checkups are essential. Your dentist can monitor your dental health and provide recommendations for managing bleeding gums and other dental issues. If you are experiencing pregnancy gingivitis, it may be beneficial to schedule an extra cleaning before your baby is born. Be sure to inform your dentist that you’re pregnant because additional precautions during specific procedures may be necessary.
Regular dental cleanings are advised to maintain good and healthy oral hygiene. But sometimes a standard dental cleaning isn’t enough to clean every spot at and above your gumline. This is where a deep cleaning may be needed.
A deep dental cleaning, also known as scaling or root planing, is a procedure that’s used to treat and heal gum disease.
Scaling is the first step in deep dental cleaning. Your dentist or hygienist will remove the excessive plaque and tartar buildup from the surface of your teeth and beneath the gum line. This process may involve using special tools and instruments, such as an ultrasonic scaler and a water spray.
The second step is root planing. This involves smoothing out the surface of your tooth roots to remove any rough spots or bacteria that can cause gum disease. To minimize any discomfort, this process can be done using local anesthesia.
Does It Hurt?
While a deep dental cleaning may sound intimidating, it’s important to remember a few things:
- It’s a non-surgical procedure.
- This process can be done using local anesthesia to minimize any discomfort.
- If you're pregnant, be sure to talk to your dentist about your options for managing any potential issues.
- It’s safe and common to perform this procedure to improve your oral health during pregnancy.
What Can Pregnant Women Do to Maintain a Praiseworthy and Healthy Smile during Pregnancy?
The first step is to ensure you're eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Calcium, for example, is vital for building strong teeth and bones, while vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Try not to give in to your cravings for sugary snacks and drinks; it’s better to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. You’re not only keeping the baby healthy, but you’re also taking good care of your teeth and gums.
It's also important to note that dental care should not stop after pregnancy. In fact, caring for a newborn can also cause dental issues because new mothers often experience stress, lack of sleep, and changes in their usual routines. Maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly should continue to be a priority for women in the postpartum period and beyond.
A Healthy Smile Is Always in Style!
Remember, prioritizing oral health during pregnancy is important not just for you but also for your growing baby. Common problems such as swollen and bleeding gums can be prevented and treated with good oral hygiene, regular visits to your dentist, a well-balanced diet, and other practical remedies.
By taking care of your dental health and following the tips discussed in this article, a safe pregnancy and a lifetime of happy smiles are both within your reach. Don't hesitate to talk to your dentist or healthcare provider with any concerns or questions.
At Arkansas Family Dental, we make sure you receive the right care and attention. Get in touch with us today so you can maintain a healthy smile and a healthy pregnancy.