Women usually find every aspect of their life is affected when they discover they are expecting a child, including their oral health.
While this may not come at the top of the list of priorities during this emotional and often overwhelming time, it is vital for females to ensure they take increased care of their teeth and gums when expecting a child.
Usually, ladies will notice changes in their gum tissue when they are pregnant, with many seeing this area has become more red and sensitive during brushing, which can lead to bleeding.
Others however can experience severe swelling and bleeding throughout the duration of their gestation – something that is referred to as pregnancy gingivitis.
The telltale signs of this ailment are similar to the condition in any other person. However, the causes can be quite different.
Among the reasons women develop this problem is the increase in hormone levels caused by progesterone that is ten times higher than usual. The increase in hormones enhances the growth of bacteria in the body.
Individuals should stick to an effective oral hygiene routine in a bid to minimise the occurrence of gingivitis when expecting a baby, which includes brushing twice daily and flossing once every 24 hours.
It is also important for women to attend regular check-ups with their dentist during the gestation period to ensure they can administer the right treatment as soon as a problem arises.
Procedures to ward off gingivitis can be carried out at any point of the pregnancy, but are most effective during the second trimester. Aggressive courses of action including periodontal surgery can be postponed until after the baby is delivered.
This issue – also known as a pregnancy tumour or pyogenic granuloma – grows on the gums and usually occurs in between two and ten per cent of expectant mothers. Although they are not real tumours, they can cause a lot of distress.
Usually developing during the second trimester, the growths take shape in the form of red nodules in the upper gum line and other areas of the mouth. They bleed easily and can also form ulcers and crust over.
While the exact origin of pregnancy granulomas are unknown, individuals could be at greater risk if they do not practice good oral hygiene.
Other factors that could cause this issue are:
Although the growths usually disappear when a woman has given birth, new mothers should book an appointment with a dental professional if the issue interferes with chewing, speaking or eating.
The second trimester of gestation is the best time for ladies to receive routine dental treatment. However, it is usually recommended they avoid reconstruction or surgery until after the child is delivered.
During the first three months, organ systems in the foetus are still developing, which makes it extremely sensitive to environmental influences, while the last half of the third trimester sees the uterus become susceptible to outside forces.
Advancements in science and technology have resulted in X-rays becoming much safer in recent years and so wearing a lead apron can protect women and their unborn baby from radiation.
However, most dentists will not recommend dental X-rays during pregnancy and this method of diagnosis should only be utilised if completely necessary.