Most people are aware that they need to keep an eye on their health during pregnancy but many women are not aware of the potential dangers associated with poor oral health. We will analyse the relation between pregnancy and gum disease.
Numerous research studies have now linked poor maternal oral health to an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and child birth and some studies have even found that gum disease during pregnancy contributes to premature labour and stillbirth. Studies show that the bacteria which cause gum disease can trigger an increase in levels of certain biological fluids, which in turn can induce labour.
Expectant mothers are at higher risk of gum disease and oral health problems due to the presence of pregnancy hormones; pregnant women are much more likely to develop gum disease and are also prone to plaque build up, which can also contribute to tooth decay.
Visit Your Dentist To Rule Out Gum Disease During Pregnancy:
To combat oral health problems it’s really important to arrange to see your dentist as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. After your initial check-up, your dentist will probably advise you to come back six months later for another check-up. If you have symptoms of gum disease, including bleeding gums, redness and soreness, you should organize an appointment before the next scheduled check-up. In the UK NHS dental care is available free of charge for expectant mothers; care will be free from the day you find out that you are pregnant (you will have to show proof of this) and will continue to be free until the child’s first birthday but you will need to obtain an exemption certificate. If you are struggling to find a dentist in your local area, contact your Primary Care Trust and they will put you in touch with an NHS dentist.
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Oral Hygiene Routine:
It is also really important to stick to a good daily oral hygiene routine during pregnancy. This should include brushing the teeth for at least two minutes twice a day (usually once in the morning and once in the evening) and using dental floss and mouthwash on a daily basis. Floss and mouthwash help to remove remaining traces of bacteria and food, which may have been missed during brushing.
It is important to look out for symptoms of gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease; gingivitis is very common during pregnancy. Signs to look out for include bleeding gums, red gums and soreness. If you experience these symptoms, arrange to see your dentist so that your condition can be treated. If you do not get treatment your condition can become more advanced and you may develop periodontal disease, which can be very serious.
Pregnancy and gum disease often coexist because of the presence of pregnancy hormones during pregnancy. For better oral hygiene it’s a good idea to change your toothbrush on a regular basis; most dentists recommend buying a new toothbrush every three months and some toothbrushes come with colour indicator bristles, which show you when the brush needs replacing. Electric toothbrushes are generally recommended by dentists because they are more effective at removing plaque.
During pregnancy the chances are that you will be keeping an eye on your diet and trying to eat healthily. However, most people get cravings and sometimes this can involve eating a lot of sugary and sweet foods, which could potentially harm your teeth and gums. If you do have sweet cravings try to opt for sugar-free alternatives and if you do eat something sugary, delay cleaning your teeth for at least an hour after eating, as sugary and acidic foods temporarily weaken the enamel surfaces of the teeth, making them vulnerable to harmful plaque acids and bacteria.
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