Baby Talk Part I
My wife and I were recently blessed with our 2nd child. A beautiful baby boy! During this exciting time, I have had the opportunity to reflect upon the challenges a woman faces during pregnancy. Although I will admit I will never truly understand what a woman goes through during pregnancy, I can share some thoughts regarding dental issues a pregnant woman confronts.
One of the most common problems during pregnancy is “pregnancy gingivitis.” As we all know, gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums which makes them irritated, red, and tender. Generally, this is a result of plaque build-up and inadequate oral hygiene. This condition can be exacerbated by hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy. Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone can make it easier for bacteria in plaque to grow. Bleeding gums are also common with pregnancy gingivitis.
If gingivitis is ignored during pregnancy, it can develop into periodontal disease. This is a more serious chronic infection that in the worst cases can lead to tooth loss. Studies have also shown that periodontal disease may be linked to other complications during pregnancy such as premature birth.
In some cases, pregnancy gingivitis has resulted in pregnancy tumors. These are deep-red, sore swellings of the gums that easily bleed. Although these tumors are not cancerous, they can be uncomfortable and usually go away after the baby is delivered.
To prevent these problems, good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups should be maintained throughout pregnancy, but any elective dental treatment should be confined to the 2nd trimester. Pregnant woman should also intake adequate amounts of vitamin A, C, D, and calcium to aid in the development of the unborn child’s teeth.
If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, talk to us about regular check-ups and proper home care to keep your health the best it can be!