The unsung hero of the mouth, gum tissue helps protect us every second of every day. This part of the body is constantly working overtime to fight against bacterial infection, fungal infection, as well as physical trauma. We use our mouths constantly, in ways that are often focused on collision.
But with the added stress of a pregnancy, periodontal care is especially significant. Your body’s changes can leave your oral immune system vulnerable. Today, your Newport Beach, CA dentist discusses increased risks during pregnancy.
The Mouth? How?
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a serious infection of the mouth’s gums. This is usually a bacterial infection, and is a leading cause of tooth loss in Americans. If ignored, this infection can grow beyond the gums, and cause decay in the bone of the jaw.
Periodontal disease is most commonly preceded by gingivitis. Gingivitis is essentially a milder infection of the gums, and it is often caused by poor oral health regimens.
Swelling and redness of the gums are the typical symptoms of gingivitis, with patients often reporting tenderness as well. The next symptom that patients usually experience is seeing blood while brushing the teeth. Individuals may justify this as overaggressive brushing, but healthy gums are fairly durable. It’s much more likely that this is the result of bacterial growth.
Your Body’s Changing Priorities
The body makes some pretty incredible changes throughout the course of a pregnancy. Our hormonal shifts can also leave an expecting mother more vulnerable to plaque buildup on the enamel of our teeth.
And the body doesn’t wait very long to get started on these changes! Nearly immediately after conception, your body starts to prepare. Dentists typically like to see pregnant mothers in either the 2nd or 3rd trimester.
The risk of periodontal disease increases significantly between the 2nd and 8th month of pregnancy. Any advice your dentist gives you should be followed with rigor.
Can I Do Anything About It?
Thankfully, maintaining healthy gums during pregnancy does not take much more effort than a traditional regimen. The significance is elevated, however. The risks are also greater.
A twice-daily tooth brushing routine alongside daily flossing and an oral rinse are the biggest factors in a healthy mouth. It is important to brush after eating any food at night, and that means after every late night snack. This is something seen often with pregnant patients.
An adequate diet is also highly important in keeping the gums healthy. With a child growing inside you, your nutrients are shared with another being, and your body becomes an afterthought to the child.
We need a level of nutrition to be able to fight off infection, and during pregnancy, even more so Our mouths are a gateway for bacteria, essentially the largest weakness our body has. A healthy selection of fruits and vegetables help our body to have the weapons it needs so that it can protect our system against bacterial intruders.
Call Us Today!
If you have any questions on how pregnancy can affect your smile, please give Dr. Hofkes at Balboa Dental Surgery a call at (949)630-0143. Or stop by our office here in Newport Beach, CA!