Oral Health and Pregnancy: Preventing Premature Birth

 
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Dr. Amanda Tavoularis (dentably.com)

 

If you’re pregnant have you thought about your oral health lately? While it’s one of the last things on a pregnant woman's mind, it’s just as important as any other health related issues. The fact is that over 40% develop gum disease during their pregnancy, and this is serious because gum disease can actually cause premature births. That’s a scary thought, but I’m here to help. I’ve been a dentist for over 20 years, and have worked with many women during their pregnancy. With these tips you can easily prevent gum disease during your pregnancy.

 

 
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How Does Gum Disease Cause Premature Birth?

 

The main culprit is the spread of bacteria that causes gum disease. If left untreated, this bacteria can spread into your bloodstream. From there, it can travel throughout your body and into your placenta and uterus. Once there it can cause problems including premature birth, which makes this a serious matter. The key to stop it is to take preventative measures, catch it and deal with it early. The longer you wait the worse things get, so you should make dental health a priority.

 

Oral Health Starts at Home

 

Good dental care all starts at home. The best way to prevent gum disease is to simply follow the best practices for at home care. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing once per day and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. These three things combined are the best way to prevent gum disease, but make sure you’re doing them correctly. A quick brush for 10 seconds is not going to do it. Follow the best practices for each one, and take the time to do it right.

 

You’ll also want to watch what you eat. Sugary foods are a killer for teeth, so do your best to limit them. The less sugar you eat, the less food you provide for bacteria in your mouth to grow on. This is certainly difficult, but well worth it for a healthy mouth.

 

Visit the Dentist Regularly

 

Even with proper treatment it’s still important to continue with your dental visits. During pregnancy, raised hormone levels put you at greater risk for developing gum disease, which is why so many women develop it. Going to the dentist is the best way to make sure you’re keeping on track, and get assistance if you’re not.

The dentist office is also the only place to get a truly deep cleaning. Dentists have the tools to provide a deeper clean than brushing alone, and can remove build up plaque and tartar on your teeth and gums. This provides that famous “clean” feeling you get when leaving the dentist.

 

Seek Treatment Immediately

 

If you do get diagnosed with gum disease, don’t panic. You’ll want to talk with your dentist, and get their advice on having treatment done. Most doctors will recommend getting dental work done during your second trimester, but bring this up with your dentist and get their opinion. Let them know your situation, and they’ll work with you to make sure everything is safe for both you and your child. The sooner you can get work done the better as it gives less time for the bacteria to spread.

 

 

Keeping your mouth healthy is great for you, but also for your baby. Gum disease is a serious issue, and it being a cause of premature birth makes is scary for a lot of women. Luckily it’s not difficult to prevent, and a good dentist will go a long way in keeping your mouth healthy. With a healthy mouth, you’ll be that much closer to having a successful, happy birth and baby