Nine Months of Smiles: Avoid Periodontal Disease During Pregnancy
As you know, every woman undergoes massive changes during pregnancy. Not a single part of your body is left unaffected by the process, from your lustrous, thicker hair to your swollen ankles. Unfortunately, for many women, one of the changes they don’t see coming is gum disease. At Bowmanville Dental in Ontario, we’ll keep your smile healthy throughout your pregnancy.
Expectant mothers are often surprised to learn how quickly gum disease can develop when you are pregnant. Even women with perfectly healthy teeth and gums are at risk of developing this painful condition at some point during their pregnancies. If you’ve ever been diagnosed with gingivitis, you will have a much higher risk, and should take special precautions. The good news is Bowmanville Dental can help! We offer special care for expectant mothers, to prevent gum tissue inflammation and teach you how to be extra gentle on your gums as you continue to brush and floss thoroughly every day.
Oral Health Risks During Pregnancy
As you carry out the enormous task of creating new life, all your systems and organs work overtime to ensure a healthy baby. Your nutritional needs shift constantly as your child moves through the different stages of prenatal development. The baby requires very specific nutrients at very specific times. If your diet does not supply all of them, a vitamin deficiency can result, weakening your gums and making you vulnerable to periodontal disease. Changes in your hormone levels and immune response also play a role in your gum health. Morning sickness, as well, may contribute to a decline in your oral health, since stomach acid residue can damage your enamel and irritate the inside of your mouth.
You might first notice sore or swollen gums, which bleed when you floss or brush your teeth. Many pregnant women find themselves in a terrible predicament in which their gums are constantly sore and bleed easily; they don’t know whether it’s better to stop flossing (to let their gums heal), or continue flossing, despite the unpleasantness. For this reason, we encourage all our newly-expectant patients to focus on preventing an oral health crisis with early dental visits and modifications to their oral health routines.
To prevent gum disease during pregnancy, see your dentist early in your pregnancy for an oral health check. We will assess any weaknesses, give you a gentle cleaning, and advise you of the best ways to prevent gum disease from developing. Don’t wait for a gum health emergency to visit Bowmanville Dental! Come during the first trimester, or as soon as you learn you are pregnant.
If you have a history of gingivitis we may recommend more frequent dental appointments, to monitor your gums as your pregnancy continues. In some cases, we may recommend periodontal treatments to control symptoms of gingivitis or periodontitis.
Oral Care Tips for Expectant Mothers
Talk with your doctor about your nutritional needs at each stage of pregnancy, and eat a variety of foods to meet those needs. You want a healthy baby, but you also want make sure your body has the raw materials it needs to keep you healthy, at the same time. (And take your prenatal vitamins each day!)
- To prevent injury to your gums, consider an alternate method of flossing. An oral irrigator/water flosser can clean between your teeth and at the gum line as efficiently as dental floss, with far less friction. Other options include an end-tufted brush, or soft-tufted interdental picks.
- If you experience nausea or gagging when brushing your teeth, try changing your tools. A child-size toothbrush may be less intrusive and therefore less likely to trigger your gag reflex.
- If the strong flavour of your toothpaste makes you queasy, look for a toothpaste with a milder flavor. Children’s toothpastes come in a variety of subtle fruit flavors that may be easier for you to stomach. Just make sure you choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- If your gums bleed after brushing your teeth, you may need a softer toothbrush. Even toothbrushes labeled as “soft” may not be gentle enough for a mother-to-be with sensitive gums. You may need a toothbrush with very fine bristles; ask your dentist at Bowmanville Dental recommend a specific product.
Be diligent about cleaning your teeth! Women typically consume more food during pregnancy, which means more plaque accumulating on your enamel and more tartar developing on your teeth. If you become frustrated with the daily struggle to brush and floss without irritating your gums, come see one of our dentists or hygienists. We can help you find a solution that will preserve your oral health in a more gentle way.
Dental Care For Expectant Mothers in Bowmanville
Prevention is the key to avoiding pregnancy-related gingivitis and periodontitis, so it’s never too early to start thinking about your teeth and gums. Contact Bowmanville Dental as early as possible, and we’ll make sure your smile stays healthy and strong for the full nine months!
Call (905) 697-9799 or send us an email.