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Pregnancy and Oral Health

A Guide to Pregnancy and Oral Health

When a woman discovers she is expecting a baby, it is likely every aspect of her life will change – and oral health is no exception. During this nine-month period, it is vital for females to monitor their teeth and gums thoroughly to ensure they remain in optimum condition for as long as possible.

Most patients notice changes to their gums when they are carrying a chid, with many noting a redder shade and others experiencing some bleeding during their daily oral health routine, with a select few suffering from both swelling and blood loss during their gestation.

These alterations are referred to as pregnancy gingivitis and the condition’s telltale signs are similar to the issue in any other person. However, it is possible for the causes of this illness to differ from each individual – with a number of women experiencing this problem due to the drastic rise in their hormone levels.

Progesterone quantities are considerably higher in pregnant women, while the immune system works in a different manner during this time and could encourage the growth of bacteria in the body.

An effective oral hygiene routine should be carried out every day to ensure teeth and gums are protected during gestation, with brushing carried out twice and flossing performed once daily. Moreover, an antimicrobial mouth rinse can be used to help control infections to the gums, but most dental professionals urge women to avoid using washes that contain alcohol, as it is still unclear the kind of effect this can have on the unborn child.

It is important for females to attend regular visits to their dentist during pregnancy so the development of any issues can be monitored or treated immediately. Procedures to resolve gingivitis can be carried out at any point of the nine months, although it is usually recommended this is done during the second trimester.

More aggressive procedures – like periodontal surgery – can usually be postponed until after the baby has been delivered.

What is pregnancy granuloma?

This issue is a growth on the gums that usually develops in around two to ten per cent of pregnant women and is also known as a tumour or pyogenic granuloma. Although they can cause a great deal of distress, the cysts are not real tumours and are not cancerous either so patients should try not to worry if they experience this problem.

Usually emerging during the second trimester of pregnancy, women can expect to see red nodules in their upper gum line and other areas of the mouth when this issue occurs. The growths often bleed easily and can form ulcers and crust over, while they are usually attached to the tissue or mucous membrane through a narrow stalk of material.

Although the exact cause of this issue is unknown, those individuals who practice good oral hygiene are unlikely to experience this problem.

What else can happen during pregnancy?

Those ladies who fall victim to serious morning sickness and vomit regularly are more at risk of teeth erosion than those who do not, which is why it is extremely important to contact a dental professional to discuss ways to prevent their enamel from deteriorating.

Another common issue is dry mouth or xerostomia, which can be addressed by drinking large quantities of water. Sucking on sugar-free sweets that stimulate saliva secretion can also assist in keeping the area moist.

For those women who think they are producing too much liquid in their mouths during the earliest stages of gestation, they can rest assured to learn this usually subsides after the first three months and this problem is usually associated with nausea.

Can I seek medical treatment during pregnancy?

The second trimester is usually the most ideal time to receive routine dental treatment, but any serious procedures – including reconstruction or surgery – should be postponed until after the baby is born. Abstaining from appointments during the first three months is recommended, as the organ systems in the foetus are still developing during this period, which makes it sensitive to environmental influences.

What about emergency treatment?

If the course of action is absolutely necessary to remove pain, prevent infection, limit stress levels or help the foetus, emergency dentistry should not be a problem. A dental professional will consult each patient’s obstetrician before performing any procedures to ensure everything is carried out as safely as possible.
 

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