Many mothers have experienced gum disease, dental pain and/or tooth extraction during or shortly after their pregnancy. This is often seen as being a "normal" side effect of being pregnant. However, dental disease, which is an infection of the teeth and/or gums, is not "normal" for any patient.
There are three basic events that occur during pregnancy which make the patient more susceptible to dental disease. First, hormonal changes may make the gums more susceptible to gum disease. Second, pregnant women tend to eat smaller, more frequent meals, exposing their teeth and gums to sugar and acids more often. Third, cravings for "junk food" and inadequate oral hygiene pose an increased threat to the teeth and gums.
Pregnant women should be advised to schedule a dental evaluation and receive preventive dental care. Personalized oral hygiene instruction should be given to fight disease and promote overall good health for the mother and her baby.