Why Moms-to-Be Need Extra Dental TLC
Ask any expecting mother what she wants to get done before her bundle of joy arrives and you'll likely be greeted with a mile-long to-do list. What may not be on that list, though, is some extra care in the dental department.
Safe Window for Dental Work
After a newly expecting mom makes her first doctor's appointment, she should dial up her dentist as well. A dental checkup and cleaning during the first trimester will allow the dentist to identify any problems that should be taken care of during the second trimester, the safest time for dental work during pregnancy. If a dental emergency should happen to crop up during the third trimester, the mom-to-be should consult her obstetrician before moving forward with any procedures.
Oh Those Hormones!
Increased hormones – specifically, estrogen and progesterone – are the culprits behind many pregnancy woes; how gum tissue reacts to plaque is no exception. Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, is what happens when plaque isn't removed from teeth. “Pregnancy gingivitis” affects some expecting women, usually sometime between the second and eighth month of pregnancy, and is characterized by redness, swelling, tenderness and bleeding. To make sure plaque build-up doesn't occur, pregnant women should be sure to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least daily, paying special attention to the gum line.
“Pregnancy tumors,” red growths of gum tissue found between the teeth, may also make an unwelcome appearance during pregnancy. The good news? They're totally benign and usually go away on their own. If the “tumors” are irritating or interfering with the ability to clean teeth or eat, however, they may have to be surgically removed.
Your Baby Will Thank You
Staying on top of cleanings and plaque production during pregnancy isn't just beneficial to the mother – studies have shown that a pregnant woman's oral health is linked to her baby's overall health. Help keep your teeth and your baby healthy by giving your oral health a little extra attention during pregnancy.