For many women, pregnancy is a very exciting time in their life. Drs. Boyd, Midtown Manhattan dentists, agree and wish to empower pregnant women with important information on the connection between their oral health and the health of their babies.
In anticipation of National Women’s Health Week, Drs. Boyd extend an invitation for all pregnant women, or those anticipating becoming pregnant, to take very special care of their oral health during these critical nine months. A mom’s health, and the health of her unborn baby, may depend on it.
What special needs arise during pregnancy?
Medical researchers agree that a woman’s physiology dramatically changes during the nine months of pregnancy. Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone in the system affect more than the developing baby; they change oral mucosa as well.
These female hormones cause something dentists call “pregnancy gingivitis.” Gums that are normally pink and intact may become swollen, red and bleeding during the second trimester of pregnancy and beyond. Some women also develop benign, but unsightly, pregnancy granulomas on their gums which require dental attention.
As such, women should take even better care of their teeth and gums throughout their pregnancies to keep gum disease from advancing and causing tooth loss and other systemic health issues. Diligent care may also prevent low birth weight infants, pre-term labor and other complications that are linked poor oral health.
The dental care plan during pregnancy
Your Midtown Manhattan dentists recommend several simple, but important steps to care for your teeth, gums and ultimately, your baby, while you are pregnant. They include:
- Getting adequate levels of Vitamins C and B12 and sufficient protein, calcium and phosphorus. Take your prenatal vitamins as prescribed by your OB/GYN, and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat meats and low-fat dairy.
- Hydrate. Increase your usual water intake to at least 8 full glasses a day. Water washes food residues from teeth and gums and stimulates production of saliva which suppresses gum disease.
- Floss and brush daily to remove bacteria-laden plaque, the chief cause of gingivitis and its more aggressive cousin, periodontitis. Anti-plaque mouth rinses help, too. Dental research shows that oral bacteria stimulate the production of prostaglandins in the pregnant woman. Prostaglandins increase the risk of pre-term labor and low birth weight babies.
- Get dental check-ups and cleanings in the first, second and third trimester.
Drs. Boyd say that expectant moms should avoid elective procedures, such as teeth whitening or placement of porcelain veneers, until after they give birth. Plus, while no one wants a dental emergency, painful teeth or dental abscesses should be treated right away no matter the stage of pregnancy.
Are you expecting?
Congratulations, and remember, the more you take care of your oral health while pregnant, the healthier you and your baby will be. If you need a dental check-up or treatment, contact the offices of Drs. Boyd for an appointment. We’d love to see you and your baby!