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How Does Bad Oral Hygiene Affect Expectant Mothers?

There are many links between bad oral hygiene and pregnancy, but sadly, many mothers-to-be remain unaware.

Many people believe the myth that dental work during pregnancy is unsafe for the baby. Additionally, gag reflexes in expectant mothers can be increased, leading many women to avoid dental care throughout their child-birthing years.

Poor oral hygiene during pregnancy can lead to many health issues for the mother and baby.

Gingivitis and Other Gum Disease

Changes in hormonal balances during pregnancy can seriously disrupt gum health. The U.S. National Institute of Health found that roughly 40 percent of pregnant women develop gingivitis, causing their gums to swell and bleed frequently. Though it can be painful, the gingivitis usually goes away spontaneously after childbirth.

Another gum disease that is often found in pregnant women is called clinical attachment loss. This is a periodontal disease that causes the connective tissues in the mouth to detach. Women with attachment loss are more susceptible to giving birth to low-weight babies than those with healthy gums.

Tooth Decay

Expectant mothers are more likely to develop cavities than other men and women for a variety of reasons.

A vast majority of pregnancies involve nausea and vomiting. As if these symptoms aren’t bad enough on their own, they are the prime suspects for causing tooth decay during pregnancy. The acid that comes up through the mouth can wreak havoc on your enamel, wearing it down faster than most foods could.

Additionally, pregnant women are less likely to brush their teeth because the mouth tends to bleed much more often during pregnancy. With less brushing and the decreased flow of saliva, cavities develop much more quickly in expectant mothers than in an average person.

Effects on the Baby

Bad oral hygiene during pregnancy can lead to a myriad of problems for the mother and baby. Premature delivery and low birth weight are two of the most common.

According to the Center for Disease and Control, women with poor oral health and excessive cavities-causing-bacteria can transmit these harmful bacteria from their mouth to the mouth of their child. This can lead to excessive cavities at an early age for the child.

Dental Care During Pregnancy

Even in the early weeks of pregnancy, it’s important for the dentist to know about any pregnancies before providing any work. Though most treatments are safe during pregnancy, a dentist may recommend postponing some procedures if the pregnancy is considered high-risk or the expectant mother has certain medical conditions.

Contrary to popular myth, x-rays during pregnancy are extremely safe. The dental provider will take extra precautions and use a lead apron, but the amount of radiation emitted during x-rays is very low.

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is Here

Worried about bad oral hygiene during pregnancy? Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is here to set your mind at ease. Our board-certified oral surgeons take pride in treating each patient with the utmost care and concern. We have offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan, and Tooele, Utah. Call us today for your free consultation!


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