Pregnancy is an exciting time for many women. It's also a time that involves a lot of major changes to a woman's body. It's not just swelling ankles and an increasing midsection that pregnant women have to deal with. Pregnancy can also have some major impacts on the teeth and gums. Being aware of these changes is imperative for good oral health both during and after pregnancy. Here are three things pregnant women should know about their oral health.
Gingivitis Can Have Major Consequences
Gingivitis is characterized by an inflammation of the gums and is caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth. It's the first sign of gum disease and can cause major issues if left untreated. Pregnant women are more likely to have gingivitis; somewhere between 50 and 70 percent of pregnant women develop the condition. Pregnant women with gingivitis are at greater risk for having preterm labor and babies with low birth weight. The good news is that studies have shown that periodontal therapy reduced preterm labor and low birth weight by up to 68%. During pregnancy, periodontal assessments are a must. Regular visits to the dental clinic for cleanings and good at-home dental care are also very important for pregnant women with gingivitis.
Loose Teeth Are More Likely
Another thing that pregnant women should know is that loose teeth are more common during this time. For many, teeth that are loose is a cause for concern. The good news for pregnant women is that loose teeth are temporary and will go back to normal after the pregnancy is over. The looseness is caused by an influx in the hormones progesterone and estrogen, which in turn affect the ligaments and bones that support the teeth.
More Likely To Develop Cavities
Another thing to note is that women are more likely to develop cavities during pregnancy than they are when not pregnant. There are a few things that can cause this. Some studies have indicated that women produce less saliva during pregnancy. Saliva is necessary for preventing cavities since it carries decay-causing bacteria away from the teeth. There is also the possibility that pregnancy cravings for sugary foods can contribute to the formation of cavities.
Oral health can go through changes during pregnancy. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should be aware of a few different things. Gingivitis during pregnancy can lead to some major issues including preterm delivery and low birth weight. Women are also more likely to have loose teeth and develop cavities during pregnancy. Regular visits to the dentist are a must during pregnancy.