Pregnancy and Oral Health-What Expectant Moms Need to Know

Pregnancy affects the whole body and it’s important for expectant moms to take good care of their dental health.  Elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause gum tissues to overreact to plaque.  “Pregnancy gingivitis” appears as early as the second month and causes red, swollen, and tender gums that are more likely to bleed.  If left untreated, full blown gum disease may develop.  Research suggests that there is a link between gum disease and pre-term, low birth weight infants, so it’s very important to keep gum disease from developing!

Keeping your teeth clean by brushing twice a day (and after eating if possible), flossing daily, and using a anti-plaque mouthwash will prevent gingivitis.  It’s also important to have dental cleanings more frequently than usual during the first and second trimesters.  Many insurance companies cover additional cleanings during pregnancy.  Dental care during the third trimester is generally avoided except in cases of an emergency as it is uncomfortable and difficult to lie on your back for long periods of time.

One common myth about dental health and pregnancy is that the baby’s bone growth steals calcium from the mother’s teeth, and that’s what causes dental problems during pregnancy.  As long as you have an adequate intake of calcium in your diet (leafy green veggies, dairy products, etc.), your teeth will be unaffected.  If you’re concerned about getting enough calcium in your diet, talk to your obstetrician about a calcium supplement.