Mother’s Day was just a few weeks ago and we hope each of you were lucky enough to spend time with the special women in your lives. We often hear people say that becoming a mother is the most difficult and simultaneously the most rewarding life experience. Although the real work begins once your little bundle of joy arrives, we also want to make sure that moms-to-be are taking care of themselves during their pregnancy. This includes your dental health as well. In a 2009 survey of 351 obstetricians and gynecologists, 77 percent stated that they saw a decline in their patients’ dental health during their pregnancy.
There are a number of reasons why pregnant women don’t receive the dental care they need. Many times women refuse dental care during pregnancy because they believe dental treatment might adversely affect their pregnancy. Although more invasive dentistry would be something you would want to discuss with your dentist, we can promise you that going in for your regular cleaning and check-up is perfectly safe. In fact, not having a cleaning while you’re pregnant can be detrimental since 60 to 75 percent of pregnant women will develop gingivitis or gum disease (periodontal disease). These health issues could have been prevented if they had consulted a dentist.
Gingivitis is the term used for the early stages of gum disease. Many times bleeding gums, red or swollen gums can be an indication that pregnancy gingivitis is setting in. Gum disease is caused by many things including: hormonal changes (like when you’re pregnant) and poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing, flossing or visiting a dentist regularly. You can prevent pregnancy gingivitis by practicing good oral hygiene, eating a well-balanced diet (see our last blog entry) and regularly visit the dentist for cleanings and check-ups. If it is determined by a dentist that you do have pregnancy gingivitis or gum disease there are different treatment options available depending on what stage you’re in.
If you are currently pregnant, or think you may have an issue with gingivitis or gum disease, please call our office to schedule your next appointment 239.939.5556.