3 Important Ways to Take Care of Your Gums While Pregnant
Dr. Amanda Tavoularis (dentably.com)
Pregnancy is a special time in a woman’s life, and it’s important to be as healthy as possible for yourself and your baby. However, because of hormone changes, pregnant women are more likely to develop gum disease or gingivitis during their pregnancy. Gum disease can result in premature births, so it’s important to take care of your gums to help prevent this. I have been practicing dentistry for nearly 20 years and have worked with expecting mothers on keeping their mouth as healthy as possible so they can safely carry their baby to term.
1. Regular Dental Visits
A beneficial way to prevent gum disease while pregnant is to continue visiting your dentist regularly. Professional dental cleanings are more important during your pregnancy and are essential to preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Your dentist can also evaluate your periodontal health so you both can work together to decrease the chance of adverse pregnancy complications. Let your dentist know that you are expecting, and they will be able to accommodate to your baby’s needs as well as your own.
2. Effective Dental Care Routine
Another important part of preventing gum disease is having a good dental care routine during your pregnancy. Good dental hygiene consists of brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Another important way to keep your mouth healthy during this special time is to avoid sugary foods. Excessively eating foods high in sugar can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, so try incorporating more vegetables, lean proteins, and nuts and seeds into your diet to help prevent gingivitis.
3. Receiving Treatment
Because of the hormonal changes that come with pregnancy, women have up to a 70% chance of developing gingivitis before giving birth. If you’ve been diagnosed with pregnancy gingivitis, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent delivering your child preterm. The bacteria from gum disease can attack the ligaments, gums, and bones surrounding your teeth to create infected pockets similar to large infected wounds in the oral cavity. These pockets can provide access to your bloodstream and allow bacteria to travel throughout your body, down to the uterus and placenta.
Visiting your regular dentist is the best way to treat your gingivitis or gum disease but note that most doctors recommend waiting until your second trimester before receiving dental procedures. Your dentist will give you a deep cleaning to get rid of plaque and build-up that’s contributing to the disease. If your gum disease is severe your dentist or doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help combat the infection. Your doctor will know which medications are safe for you during your pregnancy but be sure to let them know of any allergies that you have.
A good dental care routine, regular dental visits, and seeking treatment are some of the best ways to help prevent gum disease and preterm birth. Enjoy this special time in your life and embrace the wonderful changes happening to your body, but always keep your overall health in mind. You are growing a human so it’s important to prioritise you and your baby’s health as you wait to welcome your new little one.