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)