Could Gum Disease Impact Your Unborn Baby?
While pregnant women know they have to stay healthy and watch how much they exercise and what they eat, not all expectant mothers realize how their dental health can affect their pregnancy as well. If you’re pregnant, Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry wants to make sure you’re keeping up with your dental health to protect your unborn baby.
What is pregnancy gingivitis?
Due to hormone changes during pregnancy, the body often reacts differently to dental plaque. Pregnant women will typically experience swelling, bleeding, and/or redness of the gums known as pregnancy gingivitis. Gum disease is most often experienced throughout all three trimesters but is more severe in the third trimester.
How gum disease can affect your baby
Up until recently, pregnancy gingivitis was not seen as a serious medical concern. However, now there are studies that suggest there is a link between pregnancy gingivitis and premature babies with low birth weights. Researchers at the UNC School of Dentistry found 45,500 out of 250,000 premature births every year may be linked to gum disease. This 19 percent linked to gum disease is more than premature births linked tobacco and alcohol use during pregnancy.
Avoiding gum disease during pregnancy
With these risks now known, it’s more important than ever that expectant mothers pay close attention to their oral health. To prevent pregnancy gingivitis, you should maintain a regular and thorough oral health routine. Brush your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes, floss every day, and rinse your mouth with water after meals. Harrisburg Pediatric Dentistry doctors also recommend scheduling frequent dental cleanings with your general dentist throughout pregnancy rather than just the average two times a year.
If you notice that your gums are tender, swollen, red, or bleeding during your pregnancy, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist right away.