Now that you’re pregnant, you might have noticed an increase in gum or tooth sensitivity, even if you have not changed your normal eating or oral hygiene patterns.
That’s because normally occurring hormonal shifts during pregnancy can increase the risk for gum disease, or gingivitis.
However, by maintaining good oral hygiene habits before and during pregnancy, you can reduce your risk for gingivitis as well as improve your chances for a healthy pregnancy and baby!
It is estimated that 60-75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum disease characterized by red, swollen, and tender gums.
When not treated, gingivitis can lead to infected gums and loss of bone important for tooth support. This can then lead to loose or even lost teeth, or teeth requiring removal by a dentist.
We know that periodontitis is associated with both low birth weight and preterm birth, but are not yet certain of what the exact link is.
Additionally, women who have high amounts of cavity-causing oral bacteria at the time of delivery could transmit these bacteria to their babies’ mouths, which [over time] could lead to early childhood cavities and extensive dental care at a young age.
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves! Here are some useful tips and recommendations for routine oral hygiene during pregnancy:
- Regular brushing and flossing.
- Regularly scheduled cleanings with your dental provider.
- Any medically necessary dental work recommended by your dentist.
Your dentist will probably require a Pregnancy Dental Clearance letter from your Ob-Gyn in order to proceed with routine dental care during pregnancy. We routinely provide these letters for our patients at Kamm McKenzie Ob-Gyn, so don’t hesitate to ask for one!
Need a dentist? Check out this helpful tool from the American Dental Association:
Lastly, here’s a helpful video from the American Dental Association on how to care for your teeth during pregnancy: