If you're expecting, chances are one of the last things you're thinking about is whether or not your teeth and gums are healthy. However, it's important for you to put it on the list with other important aspects of your health during pregnancy, like folic acid levels and regular physical exams. Here's how your oral health could be impacted during your pregnancy and the effect it could create on your child.
Women — even those with good oral health — sometimes develop gum disease while they're carrying a child. This is because the hormones produced by the body shift dramatically in order to prepare the body to nourish a child. When this happens, it can trigger gum disease, as those tissues are impacted by shifting hormones in a similar way as in uterine tissue. This condition can sometimes happen at a lesser extent when you're going through a period or PMS, so if you've experienced gum discomfort during your monthly cycle before, you may be at a higher risk of the same problem during pregnancy.
Impact on Child
Unfortunately, the impact isn't limited to the mother alone when they have gum disease. If you're pregnant and have gum disease, it could potentially change the way that the child develops.
Women who experience gum disease during pregnancy are more likely deliver a child earlier than they should. This means that your child could need additional hospital care, or worse, experience developmental issues due to being born too soon. Thankfully, this can potentially be avoided if you take steps to change your oral health now.
What to Do
If you're concerned about these potential risks, the best thing you can do is to visit your dentist. Your dentist will clean your teeth and treat any existing gum disease. The two of you can discuss your concerns regarding pregnancy and gum disease. Your dentist may want you to come in more regularly for treatments to ensure that your symptoms are kept at a bare minimum. They may also provide you with a new hygiene regimen for you to follow at home to ensure that your gums and teeth stay at healthy as possible.
Because you want the best for you and your child, add your oral health to the list of things that you take special care of while you're pregnant. It's better for both of you and will help to ensure that your child can be delivered at full-term.