Oral health during pregnancy can greatly impact the mother and the fetus. Pregnant women with pre-existing periodontal disease are at higher risk for compromised pregnancy outcomes including preterm birth, delivery of low-birth-weight babies, and development of pre-eclampsia.
During pregnancy, the placenta produces higher levels of estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes may lead to increased gingivitis, gingival sensitivity to irritants, and pyogenic granulomas. Approximately 60% to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis. In addition, the vomiting that may occur during pregnancy causes an acidic environment in the oral cavity. The acidity may lead to erosion and decay of the tooth structure.
Many women are hesitant to visit the dentist during pregnancy. This may be because there is a lack of perceived need, or they may mistakenly believe it is unsafe to visit the dentist during pregnancy. However, research supports that professional dental care during pregnancy is integral to improving oral health.
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