Hormonal changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding affect the health of our mouths. A common concern I see is pregnant women reporting swollen, red and tender gums that bleed when flossing or brushing.
About half of moms-to-be have these symptoms – a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. It’s even more important at this time to take good care of your teeth and gums. Gum inflammation can progress to a more serious form of gum disease. Gum disease is correlated to preterm birth and low birth weights. And there is some research suggesting an association with preeclampsia, as well.
I recommend to all of my new moms to aim for the healthiest mouth possible. As, the oral flora is passed to the newborn child. It’s inevitable that bacteria will be transferred, so ensuring the cavity-causing bacteria are at the lowest is essential.
So here are a few tips:
- Have excellent home care by brushing gently and thoroughly.
- Flossing is critical as it physically removes the bacteria from in-between the teeth.
- Visit your dentist more regularly for cleanings. A hygienist can remove plaque and tartar underneath the gums. This reverses gum inflammation. As well, your dentist will keep an eye on your teeth, preventing the chance of a toothache during pregnancy. A dentist will avoid dental treatment and radiographs during this time.
- If your gums are bleeding, use an antibacterial mouthwash. You can make your own by mixing salt with warm water. Place this in a jar in your bathroom, and rinse twice daily.
If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to ask me!