There’s been a great deal of research done in the area of pregnancy and oral health in recent decades. Sadly, many of the findings from those studies have received little mainstream attention. As a result, many pregnant women are ill-Informed about the ways in which their teeth and gums can impact not only their health, but that of their babies as well. The fact is that the evidence does suggest a correlation between oral health and premature births. That makes it extremely critical that every woman consult with her dentist as soon as she knows that she is with child.
How Does Oral Health Impact Pregnancy?
According to the current evidence, the real problem for pregnant women is gum disease. The research indicates that certain types of gum disease cause the body to release the natural fluids that trigger the labor process. As you might expect, when gum disease develops over the course of pregnancy, it can lead to labor being induced too early, which then increases the chances that the baby will be born before it comes to full term.
The studies have revealed evidence that shows pregnant women to be at a higher risk for developing pregnancy gingivitis. That condition occurs as a result of dental plaque accumulating on the teeth. That in turn leads to irritation of the gums, and is generally accompanied by symptoms such as reddened gums that are inflamed and sometimes prone to bleeding. The increased level of risk for pregnant women is due to elevated hormone levels that overly stimulate the gums’ natural reaction to the presence of plaque.
That might tempt some to think that the issue can be dealt with by addressing the underlying hormonal changes, but that would be a mistake. The reality is that, in spite of the hormones’ role in the process, the real culprit is still plaque. As with any case of gingivitis, it is the plaque that must be managed if the condition is to be properly treated.
Managing Pregnancy and Oral Health
The key is to seek dental care as early in the pregnancy as possible. While it may not be practical for every woman to visit her dentist prior to getting pregnant, it is still critical to plan a dental visit before the last trimester. Dentists can provide the care women need to deal not only with potential gingivitis, but the damage to teeth that can be caused by pregnancy symptoms such as vomiting and the sugar cravings that often appear during that period in a woman’s life.
Dentists can also provide some home care tips that can help women to better manage their own dental health. Habits such as twice-daily brushing, limiting sugar intake, increasing fruit consumption, and rinsing with baking soda after vomiting – to protect the teeth against stomach acid – can all contribute to a healthier mouth. At Ebenezer Dental, we provide the type of preventive dentistry services in Midtown Manhattan that pregnant women need to protect their oral health and the health of their babies. Give us a call today to find out how we can help you manage your dental needs!