If you are pregnant, it is important to pay special attention to the health of your teeth and gums. In fact, regular dental care is more important than ever. Gum disease and other dental health issues can quickly develop and cause problems. Here is a bit of information about your dental health during pregnancy:
How does your gum health affect your baby?
Issues, such as gum disease, not only affect your body. They can affect your unborn baby. Gum disease is associated with low birth weight babies and preterm labor.
Why does gum disease occur?
Gum disease occurs as plaque starts to accumulate on the surfaces of your teeth. The plaque, which is made from particles of food mixed with oral bacteria, can release a steady supply of bacterial acid as a byproduct of the oral bacteria's digestive process. The acid causes gum inflammation and results in gum disease.
What symptoms should you expect?
As the acid irritates the gums, you may notice that they appear red and swollen. In addition, your gums are likely to bleed more easily as you brush.
If the irritating plaque is properly removed, the symptoms of gum disease will subside. However, if the plaque is left in place, the gum disease can progress. The resulting infection can impact the jaw bone and soft tissues that support the teeth. As a result, severe cases of gum disease or periodontitis can cause your teeth too loosen and eventually fall out. Thus, some people believe that you lose a tooth with each pregnancy. This can be the case, but it can also be avoided with proper dental care.
How should you care for your teeth and gums during pregnancy?
Just as you did before you became pregnant, you should continue to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste. In addition, flossing of some type, whether with traditional thread floss or with a water flosser, should be performed at least once a day.
It is also important to have your teeth professionally cleaned. Although regular at home dental hygiene efforts do effectively remove plaque, plaque that has hardened into tartar is not as easily removed. It must be scraped away using a special dental tool. If it is left in place, due to the porous nature of tartar, it can harbor additional plaque and bacteria and allow them to accumulate further around the gum line.
To learn more ways to protect your teeth and gums throughout your pregnancy, schedule a consultation with a dentist at a local clinic like Preferred Family Dental.