Expecting? Don't neglect your teeth

Nov 23, 2010

Even though most people are aware that good oral health is essential for the overall health of both mother and child, misunderstandings about the safety of dental care during pregnancy may cause pregnant women to avoid seeing their dentist. The fact is that dentists can create a treatment plan that is safe, effective, and essential for combating the adverse effects of oral disease during pregnancy.

During the course of , a woman's can undergo significant changes. According to an article published in the November/December 2010 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), pregnant women can experience gingivitis, pregnancy tumors, and mild to severe gingival enlargement.

Clinically, pregnancy gingivitis is no different than non-pregnancy gingivitis. Patients will experience redness and inflammation of the gums, bleeding on probing, and increased tooth mobility. Between 30 and 100 percent of pregnant women will experience varying degrees of gingivitis.

"Although bleeding and inflammation of the gums has been noted in all trimesters of pregnancy, it typically disappears three to six months after delivery, provided that proper oral hygiene measures are implemented," says Crystal L. McIntosh, DDS, MS, lead author of the article. "Good oral hygiene and visits to a dentist can help to alleviate gum inflammation."

Pregnancy tumors are reported by 10 percent of pregnant women. These tumors, which are not cancerous, appear as a growth in the mouth and usually disappear after the child is born. They typically are painless and purple or red in color, but they can exhibit spontaneous bleeding.

"If a pregnancy tumor is painful, bleeds severely, or interferes with eating, surgical removal is the treatment of choice," says AGD spokesperson Robert Roesch, DDS, MAGD.

Gingival enlargement, which is an overgrowth or an increase in the size of the gums, occurs less frequently than gingivitis and pregnancy tumors. In severe cases, the gums can "grow" to cover the teeth completely.

"Pregnancy gingivitis and gingival enlargement are thought to be the result of a heightened response to bacteria in the mouth," says Dr. Roesch. "That's why it is extremely important to educate and motivate patients to maintain good oral hygiene during pregnancy."

If proper is not initiated prior to or during pregnancy, conditions such as gingivitis, pregnancy tumors, and gingival enlargement can worsen as the pregnancy progresses. should maintain their regular, semi-annual checkups and consult a dentist if they notice any changes in their oral health.

Explore further: EU lacks appetite for British 'traffic light' food labels

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Good oral health is essential during pregnancy

May 17, 2010

It's no secret that pregnancy is an important time in a woman's life. While women often hear about how pregnancy causes physical changes that affect their hormone or appetite levels, these changes can have a great effect ...

Like parent, like child: Good oral health starts at home

May 17, 2010

Parents are a child's first teacher in life and play a significant role in maintaining his or her overall health. Providing oral health education to mothers and families is essential to teaching children healthy habits and ...

Periodontal bacteria found in amniotic fluid

Jul 03, 2007

A study appearing in the July issue of the Journal of Periodontology found bacteria commonly found in the mouth and associated with periodontal diseases in the amniotic fluid of some pregnant women.

Recommended for you

How to protect health workers in conflicts and crisis

8 hours ago

Recruiting health workers with high levels of internal motivation is critical for work in difficult conditions, where their personal security and health might be compromised, according to new research published today in Health Po ...

User comments : 0