How Does Pregnancy Affect Dental Health?
During pregnancy, your body goes through a lot of changes. The hormonal change impacts every part of your body and its functions meaning it impacts your teeth and gum health as well. It can get a bit risky if you develop gum disease because it can also affect the health of your baby.
If you’re not currently pregnant but thinking about making a baby, try making a dental appointment before getting pregnant. That way you can have complete dental care, your teeth can be professionally cleaned and examined, and any oral health problem can be treated. If you are pregnant, no need to worry, there are ways you can maintain the dental care that is safe for you and your baby.
How to take care of your dental health while pregnant
- Tell your dentist you’re pregnant. Routine dental examination, as well as dental procedures, can be done at any time during your pregnancy. But if the procedure is not necessary, it can be postponed.
Before having any dental treatment, check with your OBGYN if there are any special instructions and precautions relating to you.
- If you’re taking any medications and vitamins you should inform your dentist about it because he may need to alter your treatment plan.
- If for your dental treatment an X-ray is needed, remember that it can be done during pregnancy thanks to advances in technology but with more caution.
At dentistry Harrisburg NC, doctors are well educated, experienced in treating pregnant women, and careful and suggest you don’t skip your dental checkup simply because you’re pregnant. With regular checkups, you can avoid some bigger dental diseases and complications.
Common oral problems in pregnancy
This disease, in which dietary carbohydrate is fermented by the bacteria in your mouth into acid that demineralizes enamel, is present in the majority of the population. But pregnant women are at higher risk of tooth decay because of the acidity increase in the oral cavity and sugar cravings. Untreated dental caries can lead to more severe complications. To decrease the risk of caries you should brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Oral lesions
During pregnancy, your oral cavity is exposed to gastric acids more often. Gastric acids can erode dental enamel. The acidity comes from morning sickness at first. Later on in your pregnancy acid reflux is very common. To reduce oral acid exposure you can follow management strategies that suggest dietary and lifestyle changes. During your sickness and vomiting faze, you should rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water.
- Loose teeth
During pregnancy, it is common for teeth to get loosen because of the progesterone and estrogen level increase. Your dentists should make sure that the condition is temporary because the condition alone won’t cause tooth loss.
This is the most common oral disease in pregnancy and it refers to inflammation of the superficial gum tissue that occurs because of the fluctuations in progesterone and estrogen levels. That’s why thorough brushing and flossing is recommended.
Common causes of dental health problems
- Food cravings
Some women have unusual cravings during pregnancy. Sugary cravings can be devastating for your dental health as they increase the risk of tooth decay. Try avoiding sugary snacks as much as you can or find healthier alternatives. After having that sugary snack, brush your teeth immediately after having one or rinse your mouth with mouthwash.
Pregnancy softens the muscle that keeps food inside the stomach. Vomiting that is associated with morning sickness can cover your teeth with strong stomach acids. Repeated vomiting can damage the tooth enamel and increase the risk of decay.
If you’re experiencing vomiting you should:
- Not brush your teeth immediately after vomiting because the teeth are covered with stomach acid and the action of brushing can scratch the tooth enamel.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water followed up with a mouthwash containing fluoride (if you don’t have fluoride mouthwash you can smear a blob of toothpaste containing fluoride over your teeth)
- Gagging while brushing teeth so avoiding brushing
Brushing teeth, especially at the beginning of your pregnancy, can cause gagging so you might want to avoid brushing. Brushing your teeth less than recommended increases the risk of tooth decay. So, instead of avoiding brushing your teeth, you can try to lower the gagging reflux. You can do it by taking your time and slowly brushing your teeth, using a toothbrush with a smaller and softer head, concentrating on breathing, closing your eyes, and listening to music. If the taste of toothpaste makes you gag, try some other brands and use mouthwash containing fluoride.
During your pregnancy, you should and need to increase your intake of some vitamins to protect you and to assure your baby’s development. Increasing intake of vitamin C protects your bones, nails, and teeth. You can do it through food. Good sources of calcium are milk, cheese, plain yogurt, and some types of nuts. You should also increase vitamin D as it helps the body utilize calcium.
Maintaining oral health is extra important in pregnancy as it can lead to more severe complications with the pregnancy and the baby. You can refer to Aastra Women’s Center for more information about the potential complications and your solutions.