As a mother if you’re expecting, your dentist or doctor may advise you how – and how important it is – to keep your mouth healthy during pregnancy. You may have even read our blog post on the topic here growing evidence suggests that your oral health can actually affect the outcome of your birth… and that any dental decay, or cavity-causing bacteria, could be passed onto your baby.
Most women notice changes to their gums during pregnancy such as redder gums and bleeding during brushing. Some women also experience severe swelling of the gums.
All of these changes are referred to as "pregnancy gingivitis," and they can start as early as the second month of pregnancy. The condition tends to peak around the eighth month, and it often tapers off after the baby is born.
Gingivitis occurs more frequently during pregnancy due to the increased level of hormones, Estrogen and Progesterone, which exaggerates the way gums react to the irritants in plaque.
However, it's still plaque — not hormones — that is the major cause of gingivitis.
During pregnancy, the level of Progesterone in your body can be 10 times higher than normal. Which may enhance growth of certain bacteria, plus the immune system may react differently during pregnancy so that gum disease may be more likely as a result.
Women who have gum disease may be more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small. Although more research is underway, it appears that gum disease triggers increased levels of biological fluids that can induce labour.
The good news is, there are simple steps you can take to protect both child's and your oral health.
By maintaining proper dental hygiene (that means brushing using a fluoride toothpaste like BioMin™ F, eating small amounts of nutritious food throughout the day, and visiting your dentist for check-ups and cleaning as usual), you can minimise the risks for your baby and look after yourself too.
After birth, it’s just as important to keep up this routine; though there is still a lot to be understood on the topic, leading dental experts have conducted research that links maternal and paediatric oral health.
“Mothers with cavities have kids with cavities. There is a biological connection.”
Dr. Rocio Quinonez, DMD, MPH