Pregnancy and Your Oral Health: What Every Expecting Mother Should Know

While taking good care of your teeth and gums should remain a priority at all times, your oral health takes on added significance during pregnancy. Because of the fluctuation in hormones caused by pregnancy, the risk of developing gum disease becomes much greater for expecting mothers.

Studies have shown links between gum disease and several health problems that can negatively impact your pregnancy and the health of your baby. This makes avoiding gum disease and maintaining your oral health an even greater priority when you consider the risks involved with neglecting your oral care during pregnancy.

Dr. Crandall remains committed to maintaining the health of all patients, both big and small. To help you enjoy quality oral health during pregnancy and to protect the health of your baby, here are a few tips for taking care of your teeth and gums before, during and after pregnancy.

Before Getting Pregnant

If you’re attempting to become pregnant, you should consider scheduling an appointment to see Dr. Crandall early in the process. An early appointment will provide Dr. Crandall and his staff the opportunity to clean your teeth, examine the health of your gum tissue, and treat any oral health problems before you become pregnant. Having your oral health in good shape prior to getting pregnant will leave you with one less worry once you receive confirmation of your pregnancy.

Dental Care During Pregnancy

Once you become pregnant, make sure to tell Dr. Crandall of the good news. While a recent study conducted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists determined that dental cleanings and x-rays pose no risk to the health of your baby – a significant change in a long-standing belief held in the health community that certain dental procedures could pose potential problems for a developing child – many pregnant women avoid visiting the dentist due to lingering concerns.

A study conducted by the College of Obstetricians found that 35 percent of women in the U.S. report not having visited a dentist in the last year, and that 40 percent of pregnant women suffer from gum disease or cavities. An early conversation with Monroe dentist Dr. Crandall can help put to easy any concerns you have over undergoing dental procedures during pregnancy.

The hormone fluctuations you’ll experience during pregnancy will make you more susceptible to developing a number of oral health problems, including pregnancy gingivitis, non-cancerous tumors, and gingival enlargement, according to a report from the Academy of General Dentistry.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

While no different from non-pregnancy gingivitis, the term “pregnancy gingivitis” comes from the increased risk expecting mothers face of developing the infection, which afflicts between 30 and 100 percent of pregnant women to some degree, according to the AGD. Gingivitis will cause you to experience inflammation and redness of the gums, bleeding after flossing or brushing, and a potential loosening of some teeth. Fortunately, practicing quality oral hygiene and scheduling regular visits with Dr. Crandall can help prevent the development of gum disease.

Approximately 10 percent of women report pregnancy tumors, a condition that causes the growth of non-cancerous tumors in the mouth. In most cases these growths are painless and typically disappear shortly after childbirth.

Gingival enlargement causes an overgrowth or an enlargement of the gums, and in severe cases can cause the gums to envelope the teeth. Fortunately, this condition occurs much less frequently than pregnancy gingivitis or tumors.

Of these conditions, gingivitis poses the greatest risk the health of your baby during pregnancy, especially if the infection progresses into the more serious periodontal disease. Studies have found links between periodontal disease and such complications during pregnancy as low-birth weight and premature delivery. Talk with Dr. Crandall to understand the potential complications gum disease could have on your pregnancy.

After Delivery

Shortly after delivery your child, consider scheduling a follow up appointment with Dr. Crandall, especially if you elected to postpone any dental treatments during your pregnancy, so your oral health can be evaluated.

Clinton Crandall