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Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

iStock_000043073970_Double - CopyDuring pregnancy, it is important to be aware of the effects your body’s changes can have on your health—and also the way various health conditions affect your pregnancy. Periodontal disease is no different. Gum disease and pregnancy each affect the other, and the combination can cause complications that are best avoided. To protect yourself and your developing child, you should be aware of how pregnancy and gum disease interact.

The Effects of Pregnancy On Your Dental Health
During pregnancy, there is an increase in your body’s levels of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones which can change the way your body responds to plaque buildup. The accumulation of plaque between brushings is inevitable, and these hormones encourage your body to react more strongly to its presence. This reaction leads to “pregnancy gingivitis,” in which the gums are red, sore, and more likely to bleed. Either ordinary gingivitis or pregnancy gingivitis can lead to more serious periodontal disease if left untreated.
In addition to the increased reaction to plaque buildup, pregnancy can also change your eating habits. An increase in the consumption of sugar will accelerate the growth of plaque and increase your chances of experiencing pregnancy gingivitis.
During pregnancy, there is also the possibility of developing “pregnancy tumors”–non-cancerous growths on the gums due to irritation. Although these growths are not harmful and will go away on their own after childbirth, any inconvenient or uncomfortable growths may have to be removed to allow you to eat and speak normally.

The Effects of Dental Health On Pregnancy
When bacteria builds up in the mouth, it can travel to other parts of the body and cause problems there. Gum disease has been linked to numerous serious health conditions. In the case of pregnancy, the presence of bacteria may trigger early labor by causing the production of prostaglandins. Periodontal disease is statistically linked to premature birth and low birth weights. If you are experiencing gum disease while pregnant, or think you may become pregnant soon, seeking treatment is one of the best things you can do for your baby and yourself. When in doubt, consult your obstetrician about the most healthy choice.

Treatments During Pregnancy
Some dental procedures should be avoided during pregnancy, but gum disease treatment is not one of them. Dr. Trujillo provides treatments which are safe during pregnancy and can lower your risk of complications. Make an appointment with our office to have your teeth and gums checked for periodontal disease, and keep yourself and your baby healthy and safe.

Posted in Periodontics

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