How Important Is Dental Care for Pregnant Women?

How Important Is Dental Care for Pregnant Women?

Posted by John H. Ko, DDS on Jan 12 2022, 06:12 AM

Hormonal changes may make pregnant women more prone to periodontal disease and dental cavities. Oral health should be considered a part of prenatal care as poor oral hygiene and health in pregnant women can affect the health of both the mother and baby.

In this blog, our dental experts at John H. Ko, DDS, in Pleasanton, California, explain the importance of dental care for pregnant women.

Pregnancy and Dental Health

According to the CDC, about 60 to 75% of pregnant women suffer from swollen and red gums or gingivitis. This is an early stage of periodontal disease caused by fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy. 

Periodontitis has also been linked to bad pregnancy outcomes including preterm birth and low birth weight babies.

Pregnant women may also be at a higher risk for cavities due to changes in behavior, such as food cravings and sugar consumption. About 25% of women of child-bearing age have cavities that are often left untreated and their children may also be prone to cavities.

According to a 2019 study, bad oral health in pregnancy can lead to:

  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight baby
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Gum ulcerations 
  • Pregnancy granuloma  
  • Pregnancy tumors (epulis gravidarum)
  • Loose teeth 
  • Mouth dryness
  • Enamel erosion

Factors Leading to Dental Issues During Pregnancy

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, below are some of the factors that can cause dental issues during pregnancy:

  • During the first trimester, some mothers may have food cravings and brushing is often neglected post-consumption.
  • Due to the fluctuations of pregnancy hormones, women are prone to gum bleeding, and thus, may consequently avoid brushing their teeth. This can lead to bacterial accumulations. 
  • Vomiting increases the acidic environment in the mouth and might lead to enamel corrosion.
  • Saliva flow often decreases during pregnancy, which boosts the formation of caries. Cavity-causing bacteria can potentially be transmitted to the fetus.
  • New mothers may neglect their oral health care while they are dealing with the health of their newborns.

Did You Know?

The postpartum survey data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System states that:

“56% of new mothers do not receive dental care and 60% did not have their teeth cleaned during their most recent pregnancy.”

Keeping in mind the high risk of dental disease and the potential harm to the newborn, it is important to take care of dental health during pregnancy.

To learn more about the importance of dental care for pregnant women, call (925) 847-8790 or visit John H. Ko, DDS, at 5720 Stoneridge Mall Rd #200, Pleasanton, CA 94588.

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