Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it also can include unwanted changes in a woman’s body like sagging breasts, belly skin and many dental problems. A surge in the hormones estrogen and progesterone can contribute to oral health issues. Proper dental hygiene is essential during pregnancy to prevent long-term problems from developing.
- Pregnancy-Induced Gingivitis
Increased hormones during pregnancy can contribute to gingivitis, a condition in which the gums become inflamed and swollen. If you find that your teeth have started bleeding every time you brush them, gingivitis may be the culprit. Suspected gum disease should always be inspected by a dentist during pregnancy, as there is a risk of an increase of premature birth or other issues.
- Pregnancy Gum Tumors
Pregnancy tumors sound scary, but they are generally benign. This term refers to swollen lumps that appear between the teeth and may cause bleeding. Usually, pregnancy tumors are due to an increase in plaque. In most cases, pregnancy tumors disappear soon after the baby is delivered, although in some instances they will need to be removed surgically.
- How Morning Sickness May Impact Oral Health
Morning sickness is a common complaint for mums-to-be. If you find yourself frequently nauseated, you may worry about how your teeth are affected. To reduce the risk, rinse your mouth out with water every time you feel sick, and wait at least a half an hour to brush your teeth, since stomach acid temporarily softens enamel.
- Vomiting Can Also Affect Teeth
Vomiting during pregnancy is not only caused by morning sickness but can also occur due to an increased sensitivity to smells, an aversion to food, and motion sickness. Stomach acid can erode the enamel on your teeth after repeated exposure. The same process applies as during morning sickness. Contact a dentist in Amersham for more advice if frequent vomiting is a concern.
- Gagging While Brushing Teeth
Some women have a reduced gag reflex during pregnancy due to the natural hormonal shift that affects the muscles all throughout the body. If you find yourself retching when you brush your teeth, stop brushing your tongue and concentrate on the front of the mouth. You can also use mouthwash instead of brushing your teeth on some occasions.
- Food Cravings While Pregnant
Pregnancy cravings are often the subject of jokes, and in general, it’s harmless. However, if you satisfy your cravings with daily sugary treats, you put your teeth at risk for decay. Choose fruit or naturally-sweetened treats instead. Frequent snacking can also increase your teeth’s exposure to food acids and a resulting increase in bacteria. Both acid and bacteria weaken enamel and contribute to tooth decay.
- Losing a Tooth
It’s a myth that women are more likely to lose teeth during pregnancy. While hormones and other factors slightly increase risk factors for tooth loss, such as loosening teeth and an increase in dental plaque production, most of the time teeth are not more likely to fall out or break unless you had poor dental health before the pregnancy began.
- X-Rays and Anaesthesia
Make sure you inform your dentist of your pregnancy before receiving treatment. Dental X-rays are generally safe during pregnancy, although if you’re in your third trimester, the dentist may opt to wait until the pregnancy is over. If your condition requires anaesthesia, follow your dentist’s recommendations.
Caring for Your Teeth and Gums During Pregnancy
Following these basic tips you can keep your teeth and gums healthy.
- Brush teeth at least twice a day, using a soft-bristle brush and a fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss thoroughly at least once a day.
- Visit your dentist for a check-up and cleaning at least once every six months. If you have dental issues, ask your dentist if he or she recommends more frequent cleaning during the duration of the pregnancy.
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables and consider taking a prenatal vitamin to ensure your body is receiving adequate calcium, folic acid, and other crucial nutrients.
Dental care is an integral part of ensuring a healthy pregnancy. By following simple steps to take care of your teeth, and having a dentist treat any concerns that arise, you protect your oral health. Inform your dentist of your pregnancy for treatment advice.
York House Dentists, a Chesham Dental Practice having 30 years of experience in delivering optimum pain-free dental care with dental emergencies.