If you’re pregnant, you’re probably so exhausted most nights that completing your normal dental hygiene routine might seem like more trouble than it’s worth. But your friendly Milwaukie, OR dentist wants you to know that flossing and brushing while pregnant is actually vitally important to not only your long-term health, but to your baby’s health as well.
In fact, you might want to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sue Walker – especially if you’re already suffering from gum that are inflamed, swollen, and red – and learn how to get rid of pregnancy gingivitis. This common oral health condition impacts the pregnancies of most women, but it can be easily avoided by practicing proper oral hygiene.
The Impact of Pregnancy Gingivitis
If you’re suffering from gums that swollen, tender, or bleed after brushing and flossing, you might have developed gingivitis, or an early form of gum disease.
The constant hormonal fluctuation women experience while pregnant impacts how their gum tissue responds to oral bacteria known as plaque. This makes them more susceptible to developing gum disease, cavities, and host of other oral health problems while pregnant.
In fact, women have a 50 to 70 percent greater risk of developing gingivitis during their pregnancy than before. If a woman already suffers from gum disease before becoming pregnant, the condition will most likely worsen during the pregnancy.
Because plaque is better able to thrive during pregnancy, practicing your normal oral hygiene routine may not be enough to prevent gingivitis.
Even though gum disease may not sound like a big deal compared to other concerns a woman may have during pregnancy, gingivitis and the more serious periodontitis – an advanced form of the gum disease – can have a serious impact on a woman’s health and delivery.
Studies have found that gum disease increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and poor oral health in babies.
One recent study also found that over 50 percent of women who develop gingivitis during their pregnancy still suffered from the disease nearly 2 years after giving birth.
Gum disease has been linked in studies to a number of chronic long-term illnesses that include heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
Clearly gum disease offers a much bigger concern to a woman’s health than what many may initially believe. That’s why it’s important for pregnant women to take the necessary steps to prevent and treat gingivitis before the condition has a chance to worsen and impact a baby’s health.
Preventing Pregnancy Gingivitis
It’s important that a pregnant patient visit her Milwaukie, OR dentist at least two or three times during her pregnancy. Depending the current state of your oral health, Dr. Walker may even suggest more frequent cleanings and exams, especially if you’ve already developed gingivitis.
If your gums are already bothering you, make an appointment immediately to see Dr. Walker, as a deep cleaning is the best way to manage the build up of plaque. While most forms of dental care are completely safe during pregnancy, Dr. Walker will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your treatment in advance.
In-office treatment is only half the battle. To avoid pregnancy gingivitis, it’s important to improve your at-home oral hygiene routine.
While brushing twice a day and flossing daily may have been enough to keep your teeth and gums health before becoming pregnant, protecting your oral health may require even more frequent care.
Brushing and flossing after every meal is a wonderful way to help ensure your oral health remains strong during your pregnancy.
Even if you don’t have time to always brush after lunch, make sure to take the time to thoroughly rinse with water following any meal or snack.
Diet can also play an important role in helping to protect your oral health. Despite what sweet cravings you may experience during your pregnancy, it’s important to avoid excess sugar consumption, especially if dealing with gingivitis.
Plaque thrives off of sugar, so the more you consume while pregnant the worse your gum disease could potentially become.
In addition to brushing and flossing, the American Pregnancy Association recommends increasing vitamin C and A intake as another means of promoting better oral health. So switching those cookies and chips you may crave when in need of a snack to oranges and carrots could make a big difference.
Pregnancy gingivitis is nothing to simply grin and bear. It’s important to take care of your oral health as a little prevention during your pregnancy can go a long way to ensuring you and your baby enjoy a healthy future.
Schedule your next Milwaukie, OR dentist appointment today to see Dr. Sue Walker.