Oral care and pregnancy
Women are at higher risk of developing bleeding gums and gum disease when they are pregnant. Research has shown that women with gum disease can compromise their pregnancy outcomes as they are more likely to give birth early and have lower birth-weight babies with the attendant risks involved.
The tissue in your mouth can become very irritated when you are pregnant. Sometimes a growth called a pregnancy ‘epuli' can appear, which will look like a swelling on the gum or between teeth. Very good plaque control is important when you are expecting. Visit your dentist or dental hygienist more often when you are pregnant to receive maintenance cleaning and advice regarding your oral-health routine at home.
There are a number of reasons why dental care is vital during your pregnancy. Tooth development in the embryo begins as early as the fifth or sixth week of intrauterine life, often before your pregnancy has been confirmed.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy make the gum tissue very sensitive to plaque and irritation, which commonly causes gingivitis. In addition, your eating habits may change, causing changes in your oral health. Normally it is best to schedule necessary visits during the second trimester of your pregnancy. Morning sickness commonly occurs in the first trimester, and during the last trimester it may be less comfortable for you to sit in one position for any length of time. If you should have a dental "emergency" such as unexplained pain or facial swelling during your pregnancy, you should contact your dentist immediately. Also remember to inform your dentist about your pregnancy before taking any medications.