Are you expecting? Did you know that pregnancy could increase your risk for developing gingivitis? During pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations affect oral health by increasing and decreasing blood flow to soft oral tissue like the gums. Increased blood flow makes the gums more susceptible to irritation and inflammation. When patients are pregnant, our practice encourages them to meticulously clean their teeth and visit our dentist for routine checkups and cleanings. Following is some helpful information about guarding one’s oral health during pregnancy.
Facts about Gingivitis
Gingivitis is early stage gum disease. This condition is marked by infected and irritated gums caused by increased blood flow during pregnancy, as well as irritants like plaque and tartar, which are full of harmful oral bacteria. When the gums become infected, gingivitis can worsen into a devastating disease called periodontitis. Also called advanced gum disease, periodontitis can ravage one’s health by destroying the bond between teeth and gums along with producing a systemic and chronic oral infection.
Advanced gum disease can lead to the loss of teeth, bone deterioration, and can even affect overall health. The bacteria presented in periodontitis can enter the blood stream and may affect heart health. Patients who have advanced gum disease also have increased risks for developing diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.
Protecting Your Gums During Pregnancy
When it comes to preventing gingivitis during pregnancy, we strongly encourage expectant patients to practice thorough oral hygiene. Patients should brush twice a day for a minimum of two minutes each time and floss once per day, preferably at night before bed. Brushing and flossing can help control oral bacteria and the development of plaque deposits, which can harden into tartar.
Reducing sodium intake and drinking plenty of fluids is essential to keeping a healthy pH in the mouth, rinsing away debris, and keeping the gums moist.
Expecting patients should also visit our dentist for bi-annual checkups and cleanings. If you are pregnant, be sure to mention this with our staff so that we can accommodate your unique needs.
Whether you’re expecting and want to receive a check-up, or you need to schedule your next cleaning, call us today at the office of Philip R. Kozlow to reserve an appointment.