Your Changing Body Can Affect Teeth and Gums
Most pregnant women in America don’t see their dentists for important oral health care nearly as often as recommended, which can cause ongoing health problems for both mother and her baby.
In fact, fully a quarter of pregnant women don’t see the dentist at all during pregnancy and 38 percent visit the dentist just once, according to a 2009 survey conducted on behalf of Delta Dental Plans Association.
Pregnancy Gingivitis Affects Half of Pregnant Women
Taking care of your teeth and gums helps improve your chances of having a healthy full-term baby, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. About 50 percent of women get “pregnancy gingivitis,” a disease that makes the gums sore and swollen.
Studies have found that the higher a woman’s level of certain oral bacteria, the more likely she is to deliver a preterm or low birth-weight baby beecause this bacteria may enter the uterine environment through the bloodstream and influence the delivery process. These babies are are at risk for many serious diseases including chronic lung disease, brain injury, motor and sensory impairment, learning difficulties and behavioral problems.
Put a Trip to the Dentist on your Pre-Conception Checklist
Dentists can identify potentially dangerous gum and teeth problems during a routine checkup. Besides brushing, flossing and chewing sugar-free gum, women should get a thorough dental exam if they are planning to become pregnant. They also should get their teeth cleaned professionally once they are expecting.
– Christina Elston