Why Periodontal Health Is Important When Expecting

Pregnancy is an exciting time full of expectations and preparations for a new little one. It is also a time when your body goes through countless changes, from top to bottom. Most mothers-to-be notice the most obvious changes, ranging from weight gain to thicker hair. What they may not realize is that the shifts in hormones caused by pregnancy can impact the health of their mouths. In fact, many women are shocked when their dentist finds multiple cavities following the birth of their child. Good periodontal health is essential while pregnant, both for the health of the mother as well as the baby.

pregnant womanThe Greater Risk for Pre-Term Birth

According to research, periodontal disease can cause infections, which can increase the levels of biological fluids that induce labor. Neglecting to adequately care for your teeth and gums while you are pregnant can raise your risk of delivering your baby before the 37-week mark. Preterm delivery can be dangerous for babies, as they may not yet be fully developed. These low-birth-weight babies are at risk for developmental delays and may even spend significant time in a neonatal intensive care unit following their entry into the world.

The Impact of Periodontal Disease

Nearly every pregnant woman deals with sore, swollen and bleeding gums. Commonly known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” proper oral hygiene is necessary if you want to prevent the issue from getting worse. Once gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease, you can become susceptible to other health concerns, including the following:

  • Tooth loss
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes

When brushing your teeth, make sure to focus your efforts around the gum line in order to wash away plaque and bacterial build up. Flossing daily should be part of your routine as well.

The female body sacrifices many nutrients as it works to grow a tiny human, which can leave your mouth without the protection against bacteria that it needs. Regular dental checkups and cleanings can keep you on the right path as you get ready to welcome a new life.