Tag Archives: pregnancy and oral health

Periodontal Disease for Two – Oral Health and Pregnancy

Pregnant womanIf you’re planning to become pregnant or suspect you’re already pregnant,it’s important that you see Dr. Marinic right away.  Pregnancy may cause unexpected oral health changes due to hormones—particularly an increase in estrogen and progesterone—which can exaggerate the way in which gum tissues react to plaque.  Research continues to show that overall health and oral health coincide, so it’s especially important for you to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your pregnancy.  Visiting Dr. Marinic will allow him to assess your oral condition and map out a dental plan for the remainder of your pregnancy.

How does plaque build-up affect me?

When plaque isn’t removed, it can cause gingivitis—red, swollen, tender gums that are more likely to bleed.  So-called “pregnancy gingivitis” affects most pregplaque on teethnant women to some degree and generally begins to surface as early as the second month of pregnancy.  If you already have gingivitis, the condition is likely to worsen during pregnancy.  Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that includes bone loss.

How does gingivitis affect my baby’s health?Premature baby

Research suggests a link between pre-term delivery, low birth weight babies, and gingivitis.  Excessive bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gums; the bacteria can travel to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which are suspected to induce premature labor.

How can I prevent gingivitis?

Pregant woman eatingYou can prevent gingivitis by keeping your teeth clean, especially near the gumline.  You should brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and after each meal when possible.  You also should floss each day.  Good nutrition keeps the oral cavity healthy and strong; in particular, you should get plenty of vitamins C and B12.  More frequent cleanings from Dr. Marinic also will help control plaque and prevent gingivitis.

What are pregnancy tumors?

Pregnant women are at risk for developing pregnancy tumors—inflpyogenic granuloma (pregnancy tumor) - Before - 1ammatory, non-cancerous growths that develop between the teeth or when swollen gums become irritated.  These localized growths or swellings are believed to be related to excess plaque.  Normally, the tumors are left alone and will usually shrink on their own after the baby’s birth; however, if a tumor is uncomfortable and interferes with chewing, brushing, or other oral hygiene procedures, Dr. Marinic may decide to have it removed.

Are there any dental procedures I should avoid?

Routine exams and cleanings can be performed throughout pregnancy; however, non-emergency procedures should only be performed during the second trimester of pregnancy.  Dental emergencies that create severe pain can be treated during any trimester, but your obstetrician should be consulted during any emergency that requires anesthesia or whenever medication is prescribed.  X-rays should only be taken for emergency situations.  Lastly, elective and cosmetic procedures should be postponed until after the baby’s birth.  

Because every woman is different, it’s best to discuss and determine a treatment plan with Dr.Marinic.

Hormones and Women’s Oral Health

What do hormones have to do with a woman’s oral health?5 generations of women

Hormonal changes occur throughout a woman’s life, and with these hormonal changes come changes in oral health.  Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause all can have an effect on a woman’s oral health.  The use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) can affect a woman’s oral health as well.

When might I notice changes in my oral health?

During puberty, fluctuations in hormones can make gums morTeenage girle susceptible to gingivitis. As a result, the gums may appear red and swollen, and they can bleed.  During menstruation, women who have a tendency to develop canker sores and cold sores may develop a pattern in which these sores recur during every menstrual cycle.

Woman holding newbornDuring pregnancy, gingivitis may develop.  In fact, gingivitis is the most common oral condition associated with being pregnant. Sometimes, however, women will avoid dental checkups for fear that treatment might harm the developing baby.  In truth, untreated gum infections and decayed teeth can put a mother and her baby at risk. Dental infections may be responsible for as much as 5 percent of low-birth-weight pre-term babies.  Pregnant women need routine checkups.  Always tell Dr. Marinic and his team if you are pregnant.

Some women also experience dry mouth while pregnant.  Taking frequentPregnant woman brushing teeth sips of water and chewing sugarless gum or candy can help alleviate this symptom.  Women who experience morning sickness need to brush their teeth more frequently than twice a day.  This will help to prevent stomach acids from contacting the teeth and causing permanent damage to tooth enamel. 

The use of oral contraceptives may cause gum tissue changes in some women.  Women who use birth control pills may also be more prone to healing problems or dry socket after tooth extraction. 

Older woman smilingDuring menopause, women may experience oral changes that include pain, a burning sensation in the oral tissue, changes in taste, and dry mouth.  After menopause, there is an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, which may increase the chance of tooth loss.

How can I maintain good oral health throughout my life?

  • Brush twice daily with toothpaste containing fluoride and floss once daily
  • Have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined by your dentist every six months (or more frequently if recommended by your dentist)
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, and always tell Dr. Marinic and his team about any medications, vitamins, and supplements that you are taking

Ask Dr. Marinic any questions that you have about your oral health.  Together, you and Dr. Marinic can create a treatment and prevention plan that specifically meets your needs.