Oral health and pregnancy: 8 recommendations

The pregnancy is a period in the life of a woman in which many changes happen. We have a lot of information about how pregnancy causes physiological changes. But, what about oral health during pregnancy?

During this period, hormonal levels increase and they might affect the way in which the body reacts to dental plaque. The major presence of dental plaque can derive in swollen and bleeding gums (that is to say, gingivitis), or in periodontitis, disease of the gums in severe condition.

Regarding the lack of information about oral health and pregnancy, the European Federation of Periodontology in collaboration with Oral-B has launched a campaign to answer the most frequent doubts.

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Evidenced associations

As it is indicated in the campaign, “associations between periodontal diseases and adverse pregnancy outcomes have been demonstrated – a pregnant woman with poor gum health may have a greater risk of suffering from pre-eclampsia, of giving birth prematurely, and of giving birth to an underweight child”.

This way so, periodontal treatment might be more effective to reduce adverse risks of pregnancy if it is undertaken during the period of gestation. It is proven that undertaking periodontal treatment during pregnancy is safe.

8 aspects to keep in mind

These are the 8 guidelines proposed by EFP and Oral-B for pregnant women:

  1. Knowledge of symptoms: during pregnancy, women should be aware of any anomaly such as gum bleeding, pain during mastication, halitosis, gingival recession or tooth mobility. If they are detected, it is necessary to visit a professional.
  2. Gingival changes: they are frequent during pregnancy but they are not physiological in nature. If such changes appear, they should be appropriately diagnosed and treated.
  3. Prevention: Even in the absence of any sign of disease, pregnant women should seek an oral-health consultation.
  4. Periodontal disease: if a periodontal disease is diagnosed, pregnant women should know that it can be safely treated during pregnancy. They should be informed the risks of no treatment are significantly higher than the minimal trauma that might occur during therapy.
  5. Periodontal treatment: Pregnant women should also be aware that periodontal treatment should be avoided in the first trimester and should be performed preferably during the second trimester.
  6. X-rays and anesthesia: dental X-rays can be undertaken and local anesthesia can be delivered without additional risk either to the mother or the fetus.
  7. Painkillers and antibiotics: use of common painkillers and of systemic antibiotics during periodontal treatment is generally safe.
  8. Periodontal health and pregnancy conditions: pregnant women and women who plan to become pregnant should be aware that there may be a connection between their periodontal status, their overall health, and possible pregnancy complications. For this reason, periodontal treatment may be necessary. Moreover, adverse pregnancy outcomes and periodontitis share some important risk factors (e.g. smoking).

If in doubt, the best option is to contact a professional. Make an appointment at Ortiz-Vigón Clinic or call +34 944 158 902.

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