Your skin is glowing, your hair is more luscious than ever, and you are growing a new life in your womb. Pregnancy truly is a wonderful thing. But, now let's talk about the less pleasant effects pregnancy can have on your body: you're constantly nauseous, your breasts are sore, and anything you eat gives you heartburn. Oh, and your teeth seem to be getting more cavities too.
How is pregnancy affecting your oral health and why does this happen?
Why Can Pregnancy Affect Your Oral Health?
You can blame it all on the hormonal and behavioral changes that occur during this time. During pregnancy, your body produces more progesterone and estrogen. This increase can exaggerate the way gum tissues react to plaque, leading to increased gum inflammation and swelling.
If you experience morning sickness too, the acid from your stomach can hurt tooth enamel. And, because pregnancy often brings cravings and changes in diet, the increased consumption of sugary foods and drinks can also affect your oral health.
Ways Pregnancy Can Affect Your Oral Health
Here are some of the most common oral health issues women can deal with during pregnancy:
- Gingivitis: As we said, the various hormonal changes can cause your gums to become swollen, red, and bleed easily. If you notice any of these signs, you need to act promptly as untreated gingivitis can develop into a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss.
- Increased risk of tooth decay: Pregnancy can lead to increased risks of tooth decay for several reasons. For example, the increased acidity in the mouth due to morning sickness can weaken the enamel, making it more susceptible to decay. Dietary changes and a decrease in routine oral hygiene due to a more hectic schedule or a gag reflex when brushing, can also increase your risk of cavities.
- Loose teeth: Some women may notice that their teeth are becoming loose during pregnancy. While quite rare, this usually happens because the increased levels of progesterone and estrogen can affect the tissues and bones that keep your teeth in place.
How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy During Pregnancy
Because your teeth are more vulnerable now, it's important to be extremely careful about your oral hygiene. Make sure to:
- Brush and floss your teeth every day
- Use a mouthwash to kill bacteria
- See your dentist every six months for preventive care. Make sure to let them know that you are pregnant so they can provide personalized care. Some treatments are not compatible with pregnancy and your dentist needs to be aware of your current condition
- Try to eat as many fresh fruits and veggies and drink plenty of water to promote salivation
- Limit the consumption of staining, sugary, and starchy foods and beverages
Are You a New Parent?
If you had dental issues during pregnancy, then you already know how important oral health is. If you are trying to give your little one a great start at good oral health, bring them to Chula Vista Pediatric Dentistry.
Get in touch with us online to book your appointment.