Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Oral Diseases During Pregnancy and the Importance of Visiting the Dentist

Visiting the dentist while pregnant is extremely important. Pregnancy affects the entire body, and the mouth is no exception since the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy have a direct relationship with your oral health as well. Having regular dentist visits is important to your overall health and quality of life when you are expecting. Most serious conditions can be averted with a little care and making sure that your dental provider knows that you are pregnant. At the same time there are some more serious oral health issue that may arise, or may be exasperated, because of the pregnancy itself. 

Hormonal increase can lead directly to inflammation of the gums or gingivitis. Because the body has an increase in the hormone progesterone, the gums can become red and swollen. When combined with the pregnancy this causes a reduced ability of the body to fight infections and can turn into pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis can also cause bleeding of the gums when you brush your teeth or floss, and it is a good idea to keep your dentist in the loop to prevent any further complications from occurring. 

Dentists are very cognizant that pregnant women are also at risk for the more serious periodontal disease. When the bacteria in your mouth affects the pockets below the gum line, it can damage the fibers that hold your teeth in place. Getting treatment for periodontal disease is vital, especially for pregnant women because it can adversely affect the fetus. Women with periodontal diseases are at a higher risk for having babies with a lower birth rate than normal. 

Among the many effects of the hormonal changes due to pregnancy is a reduction in the amount of saliva that the mouth produces. This in turn can create dry mouth which can lead to additional complications and increases the risk of oral diseases. A dentist has many ways of dealing with dry mouth, once they are aware of the problem. 

Morning sickness is dreaded by women across the globe as the universal blight that comes with being pregnant. Unfortunately, in cases of severe morning sickness, the mouth is also adversely affected. Your dentist needs to be aware of servere morning sickness and vomiting because the vomiting can erode the enamel in the back of your teeth. 

A small percentage of women develop what is known as a pregnancy granuloma. This is a small growth that occurs along the upper line of your gums, can be sensitive, bleeds easily, and sometimes will develop a scab. While not necessarily dangerous, this growth can make a woman more conscious, while simultaneously affecting the way she eats and speaks. Luckily this granuloma will usually disappear after the birth of the child. 
It is important for your dentist to know you are pregnant so that you can plan out your oral health routine accordingly. With good hygiene practices, great eating habits, and a dentist looking after your teeth and gums, visiting the dentist could be the easiest of all your pregnancy doctor visits.