Oral Health in Pregnancy

This is one of the more important things that normally gets pushed to the bottom when it comes to pregnancy but you would be surprised how much you are affected by this on an every day basis, none the less while in pregnancy. Oral Health is one of the most undermined categories of health. Have you ever noticed on your health history forms when filling it out to see the OB that it asks if you have had any bleeding gums or other mouth issues going on? It’s not a unimportant question, and in my opinion is shouldn’t be bypassed. I know it really is one of the lesser worries in pregnancy along with all the other stuff. But if you ever have a chance to think about it, maybe you should go get that one hour dental check up! I’ve worked in the dental field for 5 years now, and we see it all the time. Here’s why you should have that 6-12 month dental check up;

Bleeding gums normally indicate a problem. Very rarely it is from brushing to hard, matter of fact you should be using a soft bristle brush at all times to avoid brushing to hard. When you brush to hard it can cause something called gum recession where the gums will pull back from the teeth and disappear from abrasion. Once they are gone, you won’t get them back. This leaves parts of the tooth/teeth that are exposed. Most gums that are bleeding are from irritation from bacteria or because there is an infection from active bacteria. You see this a lot in women who are pregnant because their hormones are running so high, and the immune system isn’t at it’s strongest to fight off certain bacteria. The only issue with this is that when the gums begin to bleed like this from active bacteria, or pull away from the teeth it can cause something called Gingivitis. If left untreated, it can turn into a full periodontal problem. Which would cause you to have to see a specialist called a Periodontist to get a very deep cleaning and debridement of the gums to try to flush everything out. It can be very painful having irritating gums and bleeding gums. So if you notice this, and it still hasn’t gone away after a few good brushing’s, then please call your local dentist to get a check up. It is perfectly safe. Which leads me to my next point.

Dental check ups in pregnancy are highly recommended and completely safe. X-Rays/Radiation is ALSO OKAY too, although the FDA does not recommend them, this is only if you are exposed to A TON of radiation every day for months or years. It is a proven fact that you get more radiation from the sun in 8 minutes, than you do from a dental x-ray. Technology is so advanced now days that it hardly takes any radiation at all to even take an x-ray. Plus 99% of dental offices have something called a lead apron that they can drape over your whole upper body, including the neck. A lead apron blocks any radiation that might try to penetrate it from the x-ray. So you are double secured. Most of the time the only way to see what is really going on with a tooth/teeth is to take an x-ray. It might really help if you just go ahead and do it. I promise your little baby will be okay! Dental offices normally use all the safe stuff during procedures, believe it or not, despite what you may have heard. We only use products that are approved by the FDA and other companies that ship our supplies to us, such as Henry Schien.

Dental check ups really only take about an hour to do, this includes the full cleaning, x-ray, and exam. Then the great thing is you don’t have to go back for at least another 6 months to a year if you are in good health.

Tips to remember while brushing:

– Brush for at least 2 minutes. Try picking your favorite song and listen to it while you brush.

– Use a soft bristle toothbrush. Do not go to town on your gums, this can cause recession. Also you only need a pea size amount of toothpaste, if you didn’t know.

– FLOSS, for the love of Jesus, it takes less than one minute. This will also help get all of that bacteria out of the gums that the toothbrush cannot reach.

– If you notice any bleeding gums, make sure to reach out to your dentist office. It could be something deeper, if not great!

I am 9 months pregnant now, and I have worked in the dental field for over 5 years, and I am having the worse gum problems. Some areas are so swollen and it’s because my bacteria count in so high. I just continue good hygiene and get cleanings often when I can or have time to get in the chair myself. This definitely helps keep the area clean and pain free.

My last point before I close this blog out is, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month! As a dental professional I ask that you keep a eye out for weird spots in the mouth such as white patches, sores, or any kind of bumps. Yes sometimes it’s hard to tell if you are a accidental cheek biter, (I definitely am), or the occasional cold sore pops up, but if it doesn’t look normal then it probably isn’t! Definitely go get this checked out. Oral Cancer is way more common than you think. This is one of the last things you want affecting you if you are pregnant, or just a normal human/person in general. Cancer is no joke, and oral cancer can be deathly, just like any other cancer. Every year close to 53,000 Americans develop oral cancer, it will cause close to 9,000 deaths, therefore killing close to 1 person per hour, per 24 hours. Only a small number more than half will be alive after 5 years. Which puts it at 57% survival rate.

For more facts on Oral Cancer, you can visit this website here. Please take caution and help bring awareness to this cancer. It is often overlooked, and the best thing we can do is check for ourselves and get it looked at! This goes for pregnant women, and people overall! Thanks for tuning in to my Oral Health/Cancer blog lesson! I hope everyone takes advantage of the information or I at least helped someone that is struggling with these issues!

Link for Oral Cancer Facts: https://oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/

Here are some examples of health problems mentioned above!