Gum disease and pregnancy

It seems like such a whirlwind, doesn’t it?  From the first hint that you might be expecting, to the at-home test, to the doctor’s visit that confirms your little bundle of joy… it is overwhelming and exciting and wonderful!

Father and childBut a visit to your OB isn’t the only appointment you should be scheduling.  You need to see your dentist, especially if you haven’t been in for a check-up recently!

Of course, everyone wants a gorgeous smile, but seeing your dentist when you’re expecting isn’t just about vanity.  There are serious complications that can stem from poor oral health.

37 million Americans are affected with Periodontitis (or gum disease), which is  inflammation and infection of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth.  Gum disease has been linked to numerous health complications, but not many women know that it is linked to premature birth and low birth weight.  Doctors aren’t sure exactly why this connection exists, but studies point to hormonal fluctuations that make pregnant women more prone to oral health issues.

Gum disease begins in the thin, colorless film that is constantly growing on your teeth.  The film, if left unchecked, inflames the gums and can begin to cause issues with loose teeth and even loss of teeth!  Beyond that, if you are expecting, the bacteria in your mouth can be transferred to your baby, in utero.  This can lead to early delivery, low birth weight, or even the potential to lose the baby!

So what are the symptoms?  Here are four major symptoms (although it is always recommended that you visit your dentist for a thorough screening):

  • Painful or tender gums
  • Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing
  • Red gums (rather than pink)
  • Persistent bad breath

You can, however, experience no symptoms, even though you have periodontitis.

When you’re expecting, there can be so many things to think about.  Make sure that your oral health (and your baby’s health!) is on the list!

Smile big!  Smile often!

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About BarotzDental

Dr. Charles S. Barotz is a 1980 graduate of Georgetown University School of Dentistry and has dedicated his life to provide you with the best that dentistry has to offer. Dr. Barotz is continually educating himself and his staff with the newest dental techniques and approaches, in order to provide you with advanced, state of the art, comfortable, personalized, and antiseptic dental care. Dr. Barotz has been published and lectures internationally on numerous subjects relating to excellence in dentistry.
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