Pregnancy is a time in life of total anticipation. Whether it is your first pregnancy or your fifth, whether you found out the gender of your new baby or are waiting to be surprised on his/her birthday – the anticipation of finally meeting a new life is very exciting. Many women tend to feel that nine months is a long time (especially at 7+ months!), when in reality, nine months is an incredibly short amount of time for a woman’s body to undergo such significant changes. During the months of pregnancy, a woman’s blood supply will more than double, her respiratory system will rise to accommodate for the needed oxygen for herself and her growing baby, the breasts will grow and change to prepare for milk production, the abdomen will stretch significantly, and hormones will fluctuate at extreme levels. All of these changes effect more than just a mother’s belly, and it is important to understand how hormones effect the health of an expectant mother and her baby.
Inside the mouth are millions of bacteria – and if that information doesn’t make you want to floss and brush more often, nothing will! These bacteria are present to help break down the small particles left behind after eating and drinking. While these bacteria are meant to be helpful, they pose a serious problem to oral health if they are not kept under control.
“Pregnancy gingivitis” is a significant concern during pregnancy because the increased level of hormones make it easier for certain gingivitis-causing bacteria to grow. The symptoms of gingivitis are red, swollen, tender gums that bleed easily and become irritated. When the gums become irritated, they allow bacteria to enter into the gum tissues and into the blood stream. The same blood stream runs throughout the entire body, and this can easily allow bacteria from the mouth to travel to the uterus. Research has proven a direct link between gum disease and the following:
- Preterm labor
- Low birthweight babies
Your oral health is extremely important throughout pregnancy. At Peninsula Dentistry, we offer safe and exceptional dental care for expectant mothers. Please call today to schedule a thorough cleaning and exam.