A Clean Mouth for a Healthy Pregnancy Wednesday, October 9, 2013 @ 11:31:14

Considering the Dentiform office is expecting a new (nappy wearing, dummy sucking) addition in January, I thought it poigniant to look at oral hygiene when it comes to pregnancy and how not looking after your teeth and gums can lead to big problems during (and perhaps after) those seemingly endless 9 months.

According to a recent study published by the Journal of Periodontology, gum disease, also known as   periodontal disease, or the inflammatory chronic condition that attacks the gums and bone around the teeth, can lead to premature labor and a low-birth weight.

A lot of mothers don't realise the importance of regular checkups at the dentist, both for their personal health and the health of their baby. Brushing and flossing make up such a simple and small part of our daily routine, yet they are not something to overlook. They help keep a clean mouth, and maintain a healthy pregnancy for women.

Even though there's a million and one other appointments to make and remember to actually go to when  you're pregnant, it's as simple as this: periodontal disease can be avoided with regular trips to the dentist.

Did you know, something like 60% of women say that they never visited a dentist during pregnancy, according to data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. And 35% percent said they did not have a dental visit within the past year.

All of these factors may harm a mother during childbearing.

Getting things straight.
Preterm birth can be defined as a delivery earlier than 37 weeks gestation, while low birth weight is considered anything less than 5.5 pounds. It is important to note that not all preterm births result in an unhealthy child, yet they undoubtedly factor in.

What are the specific problems associated with early pregnancy?
Going into premature labor can have serious neurological repercussions for the child, including vision and hearing impairment, chronic lung disease, cerebral palsy and developmental problems. It can even be fatal for some babies. Preterm birth is one of the leading cause of neonatal mortality.

Let's break it down. All nutrients a mother consumes are shared with the baby she is housing. So, if Mum has bacteria buildup or an infection in her mouth, those circulate into the bloodstream of her body and get absorbed into the body of the baby.

Avoiding preterm pregnancy.
Again, an irritable or a receding gum line may be one of the first signs of gum disease. This process can often be hard to identify because it occurs so gradually. Yet, for mothers, the high acidity levels in vomit during morning sickness tacks on additional harm to teeth and gums, as it can corrode teeth enamel and worsen the health of gums.

Pregnant women should ask themselves these easy questions: do you have swollen gums, problems eating or chewing food, a toothache or any other issues with your mouth? And, crucially, when was your last visit to the dentist?

If the second question takes a few seconds of staring up at the ceiling racking your brain to remember, than it's likely time to schedule an appointment. At this point, it is not only about you, but the wellbeing of the baby.

What do dental professionals advise for expectant mothers?
Brush teeth at least twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Floss daily. Most of us do the first part but skip out on the flossing. Unlike using a toothbrush, flossing is meant for interdental care, and can get in between teeth to remove plaque that can lead to gum decay.

-- Choose water instead of carbonated beverages during pregnancy. Water helps wash down food particles and clean out the mouth.

-- Avoid excessive snacking and eating sugary foods in between meals.

-- Chew sugarless gum after eating, it helps decrease acid levels in the mouth.

For expected mothers, good oral health and good physical health should be solidified as one and the same. Everything is shared between a baby and the mother, and at the end of the nine months, maintaining a clean and healthy mouth will put a smile on your newborn's face.