Why Is Oral Hygiene Important During Pregnancy?

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Pregnancy brings a lot of changes to your body, some more obvious than others. It’s important to take good care of yourself by eating well, getting plenty of sleep, and taking your prenatal vitamins. But while we may focus on what we do to protect the growing baby, we also need to pay attention to managing our own health. With all of the hormonal changes going on, pregnant women may experience some unexpected changes that can have lasting consequences. Good oral health is always important, but especially so for pregnant women. So why is oral hygiene important during pregnancy?

Oral hygiene is something we should all pay more attention to, in general. But why is oral hygiene important during pregnancy?

The changes that happen during pregnancy don’t just happen to your body and emotional state. They happen in your mouth, too! The increased hormones during pregnancy can increase your risk of developing gum disease and other dental problems from bacteria and plaque buildup.

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Pregnancy gingivitis is one of the most common oral health problems associated with pregnancy. Hormonal changes cause an increase in blood flow to your gums, leaving them swollen, sensitive, and generally more irritable. Those hormonal changes also affect your body’s normal response to oral bacteria, which can lead to periodontal infections. Your body just isn’t as effective at fighting off plaque during pregnancy, and the plaque buildup can cause gingivitis and other serious issues.

Additionally, poor oral hygiene can actually negatively effect your pregnancy.

Why is oral hygiene important during pregnancy? Because neglecting your teeth and gums can impact your growing baby! Research has shown that periodontal disease during pregnancy may be linked to an increased risk for premature birth or having a baby with a low birth weight.

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Left untreated, periodontal disease that developed during pregnancy can have lasting effects. It can develop into periodontitis, which is a very serious gum disease that can cause tooth loss and permanent damage to the gums and jawbone.

The good news is, you can maintain regular dental care during pregnancy.

There’s no reason you can’t maintain regular visits to your dentist during pregnancy for cleanings and checkups. In fact, routine and urgent dental care can be done at any point throughout your pregnancy! X-rays are also safe during pregnancy; just make sure to inform your dentist’s office that you’re pregnant so they can take proper precautions. In addition, brushing and flossing regularly at home and maintaining a healthy diet also help.

Why is oral hygiene important during pregnancy? Because your health, and the health of your baby, depend on it.

(Image: iStock / hedgehog94)