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24 April 2014

Pregnancy and Oral Health

Pregnancy is indeed special and exciting but it also demands extra care especially when it comes to one’s dental health. It has been found out that gum disease can affect the health of the fetus and can in fact induce premature delivery. This is caused by the changes in the biological fluids that initiate labor due in part to gum problems. This is how important dental health is to human gestation. Knowing this leads to better understanding of the relationship between the two.

Expected problems

Pregnant women often notice changes in their gum tissues. It becomes red, swollen, and is very prone to bleeding especially during and after brushing. This is attributed to pregnancy gingivitis. This is caused by hormonal changes in the body because of pregnancy. As progesterone level in the body is ten times higher than normal during pregnancy, this causes the body to be more sensitive to the presence of plaque between the teeth. This underlines the fact that this problem is still about oral health and not hormonal changes because the presence of plaque is the root cause of the infection. A timely visit to the dentist is the key to ensuring good oral health through the duration of the pregnancy.

Another oral health condition that occurs during pregnancy (two to ten percent of pregnant women experience this) is pregnancy granuloma. This condition manifests as a tumor or tumors which is often spotted in the upper gum line. Although this is not life threatening and will go away after the delivery of the baby this can still cause a lot of distress. This can lead to bleeding and can even form ulcers. This hampers chewing and can cause pain. If this is the case visiting the dentist is important so that he or she can find solutions to alleviate the discomfort.

Dental health and pregnancy: timing is everything

Visiting the dentist in regular intervals is very important during pregnancy however care must be taken when dental treatments are needed. There is an ideal window of time during pregnancy when women can safely receive routine dental treatment. This is on the second trimester of pregnancy. But it is important to remember that reconstruction, surgery, even amalgam filling replacement should be done after the baby is born. It is also important to note that pain relievers and antibiotics for treating dental problems during pregnancy should be given only on the 4th to 6th month of pregnancy unless the oral health situation demands these to be given right away.

Most dentists would not recommend dental X-rays during pregnancy unless it is very necessary. X-rays today are much safer than before and lead aprons can be used to protect the mother and the fetus during X-rays. But to further reduce risks, this is often delayed until delivery.

Dental care has an encompassing impact to one’s overall health. For pregnant women this point cannot be stressed more. Another human being’s life is at stake in the mother’s womb. When visiting a dentist, pregnant women should let their dentists know right away that they are expecting and provide more details that have something to do with their pregnancy. This can help dentists give a more appropriate dental treatment for them.

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