Scary Fact: Delaying oral care can have serious consequences. Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, affects 60 to 75 percent of pregnant women, and left unchecked, it can become periodontal disease. Untreated periodontal disease may lead to tooth loss.
Scarier Fact: A mother with active tooth decay can spread cavity-causing bacteria to her child through saliva.
Even Scarier Fact: Pregnant women with severe periodontal disease are seven times more likely to have a preterm baby, according to a five-year study conducted at the University of North Carolina.
Silver Lining? Gingivitis can be prevented. You can also get dental care while pregnant if you have tooth problems.
Wait, what is Pregnancy Gingivitis? Gingivitis refers to swelling and redness of the gums that often causes bleeding during brushing and flossing.
Why are Pregnant Women at risk for Gingivitis? Women two to eight months into their pregnancy are particularly susceptible to gingivitis due to hormonal changes. Even with no changes in oral hygiene, the gums often become puffy and red.
In order to decrease the chances of pregnancy gingivitis, you must take immaculate care of your mouth every day while you are pregnant. Below we outline some ways in which you can do so while also helping yourself and the environment by using minimally processed products.
To help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque and build up. We recommend using Tom’s of Maine All Naural toothpaste. http://www.tomsofmaine.com/products/toothpaste/product-details/whole-care-toothpaste
Be sure to clean between your teeth daily with floss or inter dental cleaners, since this will help decrease chances of pregnancy gingivitis. Dental floss may seem like an insignificant bathroom item, but the amount of dental floss sold in the US each year could span the distance from the earth to the moon and back four times! All that dental floss—from production to disposal—surely adds up to have a significant impact on the environment. Lessen your impact by choosing floss that is not coated with petroleum-derived and environmentally damaging chemicals and floss sold in minimal packaging. We recommend Radius Natural Cranberry Floss.
3. Extra Cleanings
One extra cleaning during pregnancy can be very helpful in preventing gingivitis. Dentists have specialized tools that can remove plaque more thoroughly than brushing and flossing. We recommend telling your dentist that you are pregnant (you can always ask them to keep it confidential if you are worried about sharing your news). Remember – do not get Xrays.
4. Read Labels
When choosing oral care products, look for those that display the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, in order to ensure standards of safety and effectiveness. We highly recommend that you choose products with as few chemicals as possible. Contact us for a trusted list.
5. Wait (If you can) Until Your Second Trimester for a dental visit
Dental visits should not occur in the first trimester in order to keep the baby from being challenged from a developmental standpoint (please remember this point is a suggestion only). Exceptions can certainly be made in the case of an emergency or pain; please speak with your OBGYN about this. In the third trimester, sitting back in the dentist’s chair puts pressure on the umbilical cord, which is not advised either. For the safety of you and your baby, cleanings should be done in the second trimester only. And again, remember to tell your dentist that you are pregnant.