Mouth-Healthy Moms-to-Be

by Noelle Reinhold 1/19/2016 9:28 AM

You’re taking your prenatal vitamins, getting in your weekly read of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, exercising, eating healthy, making regular visits to the obstetrician and day-dreaming about meeting your sweet new baby. But, have you been to the dentist?

A recent survey from Delta Dental finds that 42.5 percent of expecting women nationwide aren’t visiting their dentist. Oral health may not be top of mind for women when preparing for a new baby, but it’s important to make it part of the plan for a healthy pregnancy.

According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, recent studies show that women with periodontal disease are at a three-to-five-times greater risk for preterm birth than those with healthy gums. A few more common concerns for moms-to-be include:

    • Bleeding Gums: “Pregnancy gingivitis” can affect women during pregnancy due to increased hormones. This causes gums to bleed more easily. To help prevent a build-up of plaque, pregnant women need to stick to their regular oral health regime of brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least daily, paying special attention to cleaning along and just below the gum line.

    • Red Lumps Along the Gum Line: “Pregnancy tumors” are somewhat rare red growths of gum tissue that can form on the gums between the teeth as a result of excess plaque, usually during the second trimester of pregnancy. These lumps tend to bleed when irritated, but are benign and harmless, and usually subside on their own after the baby is born.

    • Routine and Emergency Dental Care: It is important that pregnant women do not skip their bi-annual examination and cleaning; however, it is best to avoid this routine care during the first trimester and the later part of the third trimester. Likewise, if cavities need to be filled or other necessary procedures need to be completed, the second trimester is the best time. Elective procedures like tooth whitening or other cosmetic work should be delayed until after the baby is delivered. If a dental emergency arises, those who are expecting need to inform their dental provider that they are pregnant. He or she will know what precautions need to be taken to resolve your dental problem.

Be a mouth-healthy, mom-to-be by sticking to a daily oral health regime and visiting your dental health provider for your biannual check-up and cleanings.

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