Posts for: July, 2012
Dental Facts For Pregnant Women ( part two )
During pregnancy, the hormonal changes that your body is undergoing presents itself in many parts of the body including gum tissue. It is common for your gums to become very swollen and inflamed. Bleeding from the gums can easily happen because the inflamed gum tissue is very thin and fragile. This occurs in a majority of pregnant women and can be alarming in severe cases. If you didn’t follow my advice in my last blog, you may want to revisit it after learning about the possible consequences of poor oral hygiene during pregnancy.
The easiest way for bacteria to enter directly into your bloodstream is through the gum tissue. Your gums are typically very thin yet very vascular at the same time. There are many small blood vessels very close to the surface. This is especially the case when you are pregnant! That is why during pregnancy you are at greater risk of allowing bacteria to enter your bloodstream. This can be harmful to both yourself and to your baby.
This bacteria in the blood can affect you in three ways.
- The bacteria can cause a very serious infection in the blood known as septicemia that is potentially fatal for both mother and baby.
- The bacteria can lead to an increase in blood pressure which is detrimental to both mother and baby. Later in the pregnancy, it can lead to pre-eclampsia which affects 5-8 % of pregnant women. Pre-eclampsia and other blood pressure related disorders are leading causes of both maternal and infant death.
- Recent studies show that poor dental health can lead to the release of hormone-like substances called prostoglandins which can lead to premature labour. This, in turn, leads to low birth weight and a host of other undesirable effects of premature delivery.
Excellent oral hygiene is so important for the health of your teeth and gums, and is equally important for your overall well-being. This is especially true during pregnancy when your gums are particularly fragile and more likely to allow bacteria to penetrate into the bloodstream. There aren’t any reliable statistics to demonstrate how frequently this occurs, but prevention is always the key to good health!
Dr. Brian Kaplansky (Mississauga Dentist)
Dental Facts For Pregnant Women ( part one )
During pregnancy, the hormonal changes that your body is undergoing presents itself in many parts of the body including gum tissue. It is common for your gums to become very swollen and inflamed. Bleeding from the gums can easily happen because the inflamed gum tissue is very thin and fragile. This occurs in a majority of pregnant women and can be alarming in severe cases.
Mistakenly, many women will stop flossing and/or avoid the gums when brushing, because of the bleeding that results. In fact, you should be doing the exact opposite! When your gums are inflamed, they become more susceptible to plaque build up, which causes even more swelling and bleeding. The danger in allowing bacteria to accumulate under the gum tissue is that the bacteria can easily penetrate the thin and bleeding tissue and have direct access to your bloodstream . This can be dangerous to both you and your unborn baby.
There are 5 easy steps to follow that will decrease the likelihood of bacteria penetrating the bloodstream via your gum tissue:
- Floss your teeth daily but be sure to ask your hygienist how not to damage the gum tissue during flossing. Basically, the pressure of the dental floss should always be directed towards tooth structure, and not towards gum tissue. Expect lots of bleeding during the first week of flossing.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and be sure to gently brush the area where the tooth meets the gum tissue. Don’t let bleeding stop you from thoroughly brushing.
- Rinse every morning with a solution of salt and water. Take a half teaspoonful of salt and mix it with half a cup of warm water and stir. Swish the solution vigorously one mouthful at a time until finished.
- Rinse every evening with Listerine to decrease the bacterial count in your mouth.
- Visit your hygienist or dentist every 3 months during pregnancy. The only precaution to be taken at the dental office is to not have any dental x-rays throughout your pregnancy.
In my next blog I will outline why you should take this article seriously and practice good oral hygiene. I will describe in more detail, the possible harmful effects to you and your unborn baby of bacteria entering your bloodstream through inflamed and bleeding gum tissue.
Dr. Brian Kaplansky (Mississauga Dentist)