Having good health during pregnancy is obviously very important. Health often encompasses eating well, practicing proper food safety, exercising often, and getting the right amount of sleep. However, another aspect of health that is often overlooked during pregnancy is oral hygiene. Rightfully so, unless you have issues with your teeth, few of us actually consider our oral health. Our mouth is a small part of your body, however can have huge implications for your health and the health of your baby. Pregnancy hormones, progesterone and estrogen, reduce maternal immunity making women at greater risk of oral problems. Pregnancy also leaves many women hunched over the toilet with episodes of morning sickness. Morning sickness increases oral acidity due to stomach acid and wreaks havoc on your oral health.... pun intended. A shocking 60-75% of women are afflicted with gingivitis during pregnancy, 25% of women experience dental caries, while 5% of women develop pyrogenic granulomas, which are large, reddish-purple lesions.
These dental issues are easily avoided by maintaining oral hygiene and getting dental checkups. It is very important for women to rinse out their mouth with water after a bout of morning sickness. Brushing teeth twice a day and flossing once a day will help maintain oral health. Unfortunately, only 22-34% of women visit the dentist for a routine checkup during pregnancy. Many women believe it is unsafe or unnecessary for them to have a regular checkup. However, it is important to continue to schedule a regular dental appointment during pregnancy.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease, a serious infection of the gums. Periodontal disease is linked to systemic inflammation that can cause preterm delivery and low birth weight babies. Having good oral health during pregnancy is not only important for your mouth but also for your baby.