When you’re pregnant, your body is already changing in many ways as it grows your future baby. Did you know that pregnancy also affects your oral health? Due to changes in hormones and behavior that occur during pregnancy, proper dental care is an essential component of prenatal care. Pregnancy impacts your dental health in a variety of ways, so it’s important to ensure that you’re taking the best care of your teeth and gums as you can. Here’s what you need to know about how pregnancy impacts your dental health.
Why Pregnancy Can Affect Your Oral Health
Even if you take stellar care of your teeth, many women complain of dental issues during pregnancy that they didn’t experience before, such as waking up in the morning with bloody gums. This is because of all those hormones in your body that are helping your fetus grow. While they are an essential part of pregnancy, they also lead to changes in your mood, bladder regulation, swelling, and more. Pregnancy impacts your dental health both in the cravings it causes and in the affects those hormonal changes have on your gums.
The Ways Pregnancy Impacts Your Dental Health
From an exponentially higher risk of soft tissue and gum problems to decay from morning sickness, there are several common ways pregnancy impacts your dental health. It’s important to be educated about the problems you could face with teeth and gums during this time in your health, to ensure that you keep yourself in the best health possible, as well as increase the chances that your fetus will have good oral health throughout their life.
#1. Much Higher Chance Of Gingivitis
Among the most common problems pregnant women face is gum problems, such as gingival bleeding, which results from hormone changes that result in gum inflammation. When your teeth bleed, it lessens the likelihood that you’ll want to floss and brush, for fear of worsening the problem. In truth, maintaining your regular dental routine is the best way to help with this. If you avoid brushing and flossing, this will increase the amount of bacterial plaque in your mouth.
Periodontal disease is not a direct result of pregnancy, however, since pregnancy impacts your dental health through gum inflammation, this greatly increases your risk of gum disease. Left untreated, this can exacerbate into periodontal disease.
If you’re concerned about your gum health or your gums are swelling and bleeding, it’s best to consult with your dentist, as they will be able to advise you on how to prevent this problem from worsening into periodontal disease. Since this is one of the most common ways pregnancy impacts your oral health, proper dental hygiene is more important than ever during this time in your life.
#2. Increased Risk For Cavities
Since pregnancy impacts your dental health through plaque buildup being more common, this increases your risk for cavities. This happens because for some women, their bodies aren’t able to fight off plaque as well during pregnancy. Some dentists will prescribe an antimicrobial mouthwash for pregnant women, in order to help them keep the plaque away.
Additionally, this is but one of many reasons why regular dental appointments during your pregnancy are especially important. A dentist will be able to remove plaque that is built-up, which helps to prevent cavities. Just because pregnancy impacts your dental health through making you have higher chances of getting cavities does not mean they are something that you will have to deal with when you are pregnant.
#3. Pregnancy Tumors
Although these may sound scary, pregnancy tumors are not cancerous and are seldom cause for concern, making them one of the more mild ways pregnancy impacts your dental health. Pregnancy tumors are little raspberry-like growths that appear on your gums as a result of hormonal changes. You’ll usually notice them appear during your second trimester. Generally, they’ll disappear on their own after birth.
In the event that your pregnancy tumors bother you or are getting larger, your dentist may remove them, although that is seldom necessary. One of the less common ways pregnancy impacts your dental health and though seldom a problem, pregnancy tumors can be staved off through good oral hygiene.
#4. Loosened Teeth
In very rare cases, you’ll hear of women who lose teeth during pregnancy. This ties in with the much higher risk of gum disease, since if you do not treat it, it can lead to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can loosen your teeth, since it seriously damages your gums and can even affect your jawbone in more severe cases. Luckily, you can avoid this potential way pregnancy impacts your dental health through being mindful of your heightened risk of gum disease and seeing your dentist regularly.
#5. Tooth Erosion
Many women suffer from morning sickness, making tooth erosion from stomach acids an unfortunate way pregnancy impacts your dental health. Additionally, cravings for sugary treats can also lead to tooth decay, if proper care is not taken. Although you may think that the best thing to do after getting sick is to brush your teeth, swishing a mix of baking soda and water around your mouth is a better way to protect your enamel, as it will neutralize the effects of stomach acids on your teeth.
How To Prevent Dental Problems During Pregnancy
When scheduling all those prenatal appointments, you don’t want to forget about your dentist! Since pregnancy impacts your dental health greatly, you want to do everything you can to prevent dental problems during pregnancy.
Here are some of the things that you can do to keep your teeth and gums in as good condition as possible during your pregnancy:
- Brush twice daily.
- Floss once a day.
- Schedule regular dentist appointments.
- Maintain a healthy diet, especially one rich with vitamin C, B12, and calcium. This will help ensure your fetus is born with stronger likelihood for good oral health.
- Drink plenty of water.
- If you struggle with morning sickness, rinse with a teaspoon of baking soda in water, as this will prevent stomach acids from decaying your teeth.
Pregnancy means that a lot of changes are happening, in your body and in your life. Gunnell Family Dentistry can help you with all the ways pregnancy impacts your dental health through dental checkups and providing you with advice for your unique dental needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with all the ways pregnancy impacts your dental health.