Dental care in the United States seems directly related to income. Health of the jaw, teeth and gums tends to be a mirror of general health throughout the body and an indication of sufficient income. According to statistics, 35 percent of pregnant women do not receive oral care during pregnancy, due to lack of money or lack of understanding about oral care. This is alarming, because pregnancy brings physiologic changes that can result in higher levels of dental cavities, gingivitis and periodontitis. Below are some of the oral changes during pregnancy:
Some pregnant women have an inflammatory response to dental plaque, resulting in swelling and bleeding of the gums. Teeth should be cleaned by a professional, and regular flossing and rinsing with salt water should be implemented for daily care.
Erosion of tooth enamel
Tooth enamel will erode if teeth are continually subjected to stomach acid via vomiting or reflux. Rinsing with baking soda solution will neutralize the acid in the mouth. Steps need to be taken to avoid nausea and vomiting via proper vitamin/mineral supplementation and small snacks instead of large meals.
Untreated gingivitis, especially ongoing gingivitis that was present prior to pregnancy, can often result in periodontitis. Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a serious inflammation of the gums resulting in loosened teeth and bacteria coursing through the blood stream.
About 40 percent of pregnant women have some degree of periodontal disease. It is most prevalent among smokers and those who are not educated in dental care. There is a strong association between maternal gum disease and preterm births, pre-eclampsia and low birth-weight children.
Counseling about oral care during pregnancy is crucial to avoid conditions like low birth-weight and to ensure maternal health. Mothers-to-be are often very motivated to change oral hygiene practices for the benefit of the unborn and of themselves.
Although procedures like dental implants are not recommended during pregnancy, general oral care, such as cleaning and filling cavities, is very much advised and quite safe. Visit a clinic like Oral Surgery Associates Inc if you have questions.
Higher acid levels in pregnancy can lead to breakdown of dental enamel and decay. Proper maintenance of oral care and avoidance of sugary treats and drinks can go a long way towards minimizing dental decay during a pregnancy.
It is important for your health and that of your baby to seek out dental treatment if necessary and avail yourself of proper care. You’ll be glad you did!