March 28, 2010

Getting my gums ready for pregnancy

Last week I went to the dentist, always an anxiety-ridden experience for me. I have very sensitive teeth and touchy gums, and after a root canal, a handful of crowns, gum lengthening procedures and more cavities than I can count, I take that chair with a grain of salt whenever my annual cleaning comes around.

Luckily, I am in love with my new dentist, and more specifically, my new dental hygienist. During our exam, we discussed my gum health, which isn't optimal, to say the least. Gum disease runs in my family, and since coming off BCP, the gum bleeding has gotten ridiculous at certain point in my cycle. My good friend Google has already told me that there are hormonal ties here, so I discussed this with the hygienist in light of my TTC efforts. And the hygienist confirmed it with my x-rays: pockets of bacteria are forming between my gums and teeth, and we need to stop this process before it advances.

It turns out that periodontal disease is a major risk factor for pregnancy complications like early labor and low birth rate. In fact, women with gums like mine are seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small. The American Academy of Periodentology says: "It appears that periodontal disease triggers increased levels of biological fluids that induce labor. Furthermore, data suggests that women whose periodontal condition worsens during pregnancy have an even higher risk of having a premature baby." (Source: Yikes!

So I'm taking steps to get my gums in order while I'm still in the TTC camp. Over the next month, I'll have ultrasonic deep gum cleaning, where a waterpik-like device is used to root into my gumline and flush out any bacteria that's hiding down there. I'm also developing a newfound love for my electric toothbrush - TWICE daily. Anything that I can do to help my body become a happy and healthy home for the baby-to-be, I'm all for it.


Valerie said...

Awesome post. I am in dentistry and it is so nice to see someone that understands. It is great that you are doing something about it!

Jesse said...

That's good, Nature Bud. Pregnant moms should, indeed, maintain pink and healthy gums as that will help them in having a successful labor period. In fact, mothers-to-be should only take care of their gums, but also their whole body.

Jesse Hake


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