The human body is a wonderfully interconnected and complex organism. We only exist by the miracle that some bodies are capable of growing and nurturing members of the next generation. Ask any woman who has experienced pregnancy, the process of growing a baby has effects all over the body. This month, we thought we’d write about how hormonal changes can affect your oral health and how best to maintain healthy gums during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Hormones and Gum Disease
When pregnant, the increased levels of hormones throughout the body will change how the body deals with plaque. Pregnancy gingivitis (swollen or bleeding gums) is a common outcome. If left untreated, this can develop into the more serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis. Happily, both of these conditions can be treated safely during pregnancy.
Professor Mariano Sanz of the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) is concerned that women may delay treatment for gum disease because they are pregnant.
“Women should go to the dentist for diagnosis and for preventive and therapeutic interventions in case they are needed during pregnancy – and they should go as soon as possible.”
Interventions such as scaling, root surface instrumentation and extractions are completely safe procedures that cannot harm the foetus. By contrast, the risks of leaving gum disease untreated have far worse consequences. According to the EFP, scientific studies have shown connections between gum disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as premature birth, low birth weight, and pre-eclampsia.
Full guidance for pregnant women and for oral health professionals has been published by the EFP (in cooperation with their colleagues at the British Society of Periodontology). Read it here.
Avoid Plaque Accumulation
The main oral health goal for pregnant women is to avoid persistent plaque accumulation. This can be achieved by brushing teeth twice a day for two minutes and following advice from dental professionals.
If any of our patients are pregnant and have any concerns about plaque accumulation, please don't hesitate to contact the practice. What’s good for your gums will be good for your baby, too! Call 01603 632525 to arrange an appointment.