It is often that pregnant women neglect oral health and dental check-ups. But do you know that your body experiences lots of changes during pregnancy? Not only increase in appetite but also increase in hormone levels such as estrogen and progesterone 10 times than the usual level!
How does these hormones act?
Estrogen and progesterone causes increase in blood circulation throughout the whole body including oral cavity and therefore subjected to various inflammations and infections.
Without proper oral hygiene, many conditions can affect health of pregnant woman, for example pregnancy gingivitis, pregnancy tumor and gingival enlargement.
It is no different from non-pregnancy gingivitis, where you'll experience redness, inflammation and bleeding gums on probe. This usually occurs in 30-100% of pregnancy, mainly during 2nd month and at its peak at 8th month of pregnancy. But it usually subsides after delivery.
Also called as Pregnancy Granuloma, reported occurs in 2-10% of pregnancy. They are not cancerous but can bring sense of discomfort. It appears as red or purple growth, and may cause spontaneous bleeding. Often develops during 2nd trimester but tapers off after delivery also.
Overgrowth of gums that may cover the teeth, but occurs less than pregnancy gingivitis and granuloma. This might be due to heightened response to bacteria in the mouth.
Dentists might detect erosion of enamel layer in pregnant women that have severe morning sickness. High acidity content is harmful to oral structures, especially the teeth structures.
What are the Causes?
The answer is simple. Poor oral hygiene may cause accumulation of plaque in areas that are hard to reach by normal toothbrushing. Therefore good practices like flossing, non-alcohol mouthwash are really useful to prevent such conditions. Professional cleaning (i.e scaling) by dentists not only removes plaque and calculus effectively, but also early detection and prevention of oral diseases can be done.
On the other hand, prevalence of dental caries can also increase due to increase of appetite, especially cravings of sweet food and drinks. Meanwhile if the expecting mother craves for sour and acidic food, erosion of tooth surfaces may occur and lead to tooth sensitivity. Choose healthy food like vegetables, honey and fruits as substitute for sweet foods. Green apples are said to help reduce dental plaque formation.
Take good care of your health and your baby! :)