It’s vital to maintaining optimal oral health during pregnancy. The health of your teeth, gums and surrounding bone can have a direct impact on the health of the fetus.

As with other diseases that may occur during pregnancy that may cause harm to the embryo/fetus, it comes down to bacteria. Bacteria within the oral cavity has the potential to travel through the bloodstream and cause infections at distant sites.

Within the gum tissue and surrounding bone, many blood vessels exist. During pregnancy, blood vessels (vascularity) increases. This increase in blood flow can increase the chance that bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to distant sites in the body. The bacteria may, in fact, reach the growing embryo/fetus.

Dental care during pregnancy is important for disease prevention and avoidance of negative pregnancy outcomes. Women with the oral disease during pregnancy may have an increased risk of delivering pre-term/low birth weight babies.

Good oral hygiene is essential for both fetus’ and the mother’s overall health, but misunderstandings exist about the dental care safety during pregnancy. Some women believe they must avoid any dental treatment during pregnancy. This is not true. The dentist and dental hygienist will devise a treatment plan to ensure safety and effectiveness to prevent adverse effects of the oral disease. Dental cleaning is imperative during pregnancy to keep bacterial plaque levels low. If a woman has increased bleeding or inflammation, a more frequent interval of cleaning may be recommended. Dental fillings are usually recommended after the first trimester if needed and dental x-rays are taken only on an as-needed basis.

Pregnant women have the potential to develop pregnancy gingivitis (mild to severe), gum enlargement and tumors within the gum tissue. This is due to the exaggerated response of the pregnant woman’s body to oral bacteria. Some of these conditions may persist after delivery and may need to be treated non-surgically or surgically.

With oral hygiene care at the dental office, education and patient care at home the goal is to prevent/alleviate gum infection. Brushing at least three times a day, flossing once a day and using an antibacterial mouth rinse as needed can help reduce bacteria levels.

Remember bleeding anywhere on your body without trauma is not ‘normal’, neither is bleeding from your mouth. Bleeding means the body is trying to fight infection.However, pregnancy and oral health should is vital..