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Are you pregnant or planning to get pregnant? Don’t forget about visiting your dentist?

If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, you should be aware that keeping your teeth and gums healthy is very important for baby.  Studies show that poor oral health can link to possible pregnancy complications.

You should always visit your dentist when you become pregnant to get a good cleaning and any suggestions for keeping your teeth in top condition.  You can also set up a cleaning plan to help you through your pregnancy.

Why is oral health important during pregnancy?

As inflamed gums are very common during pregnancy, you need not be alarmed. Under appropriate preventive measures, this inflammation is usually short-lived and gums will return to normality after delivery.

The increased hormonal levels during pregnancy often can affect the way that your body reacts to dental plaque and this can lead to gum disease (gingivitis). Without proper care and treatment gingivitis can aggravate further and cause a more serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis and associations between gum diseases and pregnancy complications have been known to occur. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy is crucial both for you and baby.

As the mouth is one of the main areas involved in the physiological and hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy, even when proper oral-hygiene to remove plaque is performed gingivitis can prevail so this is a time when extra care is required to make sure for top oral health.

What kind of adverse pregnancy outcomes are associated with periodontitis?

Studies have shown associations between periodontal disease and three forms of adverse pregnancy outcomes: low birth weight, preterm birth, and pre-eclampsia (defined as high maternal blood pressure and significant proteinuria, or presence of excess proteins in the urine), as well as with gestational diabetes.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

You should check for obvious signs of disease in the mouth. In particular, look out for inflammation of the gums or bleeding gums. You should also look out for other signs or symptoms – such as pain while chewing, bad breath (halitosis), receding gums, and moving teeth. If you have one or more of these symptoms, you should visit your dentist.

How can I prevent gum disease?

Even without any signs of disease, you should take steps to prevent problems by taking good care of your teeth and gums, especially when you are pregnant. You should ask your dentist or dental hygienist for advice on how optimal to do this. Your hygienst or dentist can give you guidance for specific oral-hygiene measures and tools that you should use during your pregnancy. As a general measure, you should brush twice per day with a manual or power toothbrush, ideally using an antibacterial toothpaste and either dental floss or interdental brushes.

What do I do if I have guml disease:

If a periodontal disease (gingivitis or periodontitis) is diagnosed, it can be treated safely during pregnancy. In fact, the risks of no treatment are much more significant than any minimal trauma that might occur during treatment. If you notice that your gums are inflamed or bleeding, or an increase in receding gums, you should visit a dental professional immediately. And the optimal time to do this is during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, or before conception.

What periodontal treatment can I have?

Periodontal interventions have been shown to be effective in improving the gum health of pregnant women and pose no risk to general health. This periodontal treatment (scaling and root planing) is optimal done either before conception or during the second trimester. It should not be performed during the first trimester.

X-rays can be taken safely as of the second trimester and similarly local anaesthesia can be applied without additional risk either to the mother or the foetus.

The use of common painkillers and systemic antibiotics during periodontal treatment is generally safe, but please consult your obstetrician.  Tetracyclines should be avoided throughout the pregnancy.

In terms of affecting adverse pregnancy outcomes, it may be more effective to provide periodontal intervention before conception.

During pregnancy, it is preferable to receive periodontal treatment during the second trimester.

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