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Gum care during Pregnancy

You need to take extra care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy because you are more prone to gum disease. During pregnancy the increase in hormone production causes your gums to become extra sensitive to the bacteria in plaque. Poor dental job leads to plaque build up on teeth. Bearing this in mind, it is really up to you to prevent or control this problem.

What is Pregnancy Gingivitis and Periodontal disease..

  • You may find your gums swollen, reddish and tender; they bleed easily when you brush or floss. This is termed pregnancy gingivitis.
  • Pregnancy does not cause gingivitis; instead the hormonal changes cause an underlying disease to become more pronounced.
  • Left untreated this condition can progress to something more serious called periodontitis.
  • Here the infection spreads to the bones and surrounding tissues holding the teeth. Research indicates that women with any infection, including periodontal disease, stand a higher chance of giving birth prematurely or giving birth to a low-birthweight baby. In this case it is seven times higher.
  • Therefore if you do develop this condition, getting treated should be a priority with you.
  • The procedure which you have to undergo is called 'scaling and rooting planing' which basically is a plaque and tartar removal procedure.

What makes it happen...

  • Many women find that they need to eat small and frequent meals; some also find a sudden or increased preference for sweet foods. The change in eating patterns sets the stage for dental carelessness and hence a higher tendency for gum problems to creep in.
  • To aggravate matters the increase in progesterone and oestrogen soften all bodily tissues, including gum tissues
  • An increase in blood supply causes your gums to react differently to bacteria. The increased blood volume puts pressure on the tiny capillaries around the gum borders making you bleed easily
  • Compounded by the change in saliva production which is higher now, bacteria breeds more easily in the mouth
  • Bacteria from the plaque release toxins into the bloodstream which cross the placenta and restrict the growth of the developing fetus
  • It is also possible for the bacteria to produce a hormone-like chemical called prostaglandin which can trigger premature labor

Preventive measures

  • Gentle brushing twice a day at least or after every meal if possible with a soft bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste is necessary
  • Floss daily and rinse your mouth with an antimicrobial rinse if possible
  • Eat plenty of calcium rich foods and high quality protein foods; a steady supply of vitamins B, C and D offers additional protection
  • Try and avoid eating sweet, sticky foods that tend to get stuck between teeth and encourage infection
  • Annual dental checks with your dentist can remove plaque and tartar which is not possible with brushing alone. You need the occasional professional clean up. If you have not been to the dentist for a while, visit your dentist for a thorough clean up at the earliest. Inform her on your pregnancy stage.
  • Schedule an appointment ASAP if you experience tooth problems of if your gums are bleeding. Also don't delay if you notice a growth in your mouth, persistent bad breath, loose tooth or inflamed, tender gums
  • Generally dentists avoid dental x-rays and medications during this time as much as possible. However special care will be arranged if it is very necessary for a root canal.
  • Gum disease is a tendency during pregnancy so it is very important to take good care of your teeth and not delay dental check ups whenever there is a problem.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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