How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

Gum Disease

Pregnant women are more prone to gum disease. Certain hormones that are associated with pregnancy contribute to gingivitis or periodontal disease and even pregnancy equalize or pyogenic granuloma. These afflictions can lead to swollen, easily bleeding gums. 

Gum disease can lead to premature births and low birthweight. According to Colgate, 18% of premature births could have been triggered by periodontal disease. Children are born prematurely are at a higher risk for a wide range of health conditions. 

To prevent gum disease during pregnancy, be sure to floss regularly. It can also be helpful to switch to a softer toothbrush and brush around your teeth at least twice a day. Using toothpaste with fluoride is also very helpful. 

Dental Health Problems 

If you are planning on conceiving in the near future, have any dental procedures you may need to be done before you start trying. Once you are pregnant, you should tell your dentist before any visits. They will likely want to avoid taking any x-rays and take other precautions. For example, using general anesthesia or other medications can be dangerous when you’re pregnant. Any non-urgent procedures are usually done after the first trimester. 

Pregnancy can impact your teeth in a few ways. Often in the early trimesters, there is a lot of vomiting involved in a pregnancy. The acid in vomiting can eat away at your teeth and cause tooth decay. 

In addition to the toll morning sickness can take on your teeth, pregnancy can pull calcium from your teeth which can also lead to tooth decay. 

Dry mouth is also a common symptom of pregnancy that can impact your oral health. Dry mouth can put women at greater risk for tooth decay and other infections. If you are concerned you are dealing with dry mouth, try sucking on some sugarless candy or chewing gum to increase saliva production. 

Prevention 

To prevent oral issues during your pregnancy, there are a few things you can do. You should, of course, practice good oral hygiene habits. These include brushing twice daily with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. If you are experiencing morning sickness, do your best to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth as often as possible to avoid enamel erosion. 

It can also be helpful to increase your calcium and vitamin D intake during pregnancy. Vitamin D will help your body to utilize calcium. Calcium will help to protect your bone mass and meet the nutritional needs of your body and your developing baby. Consult with your doctor about which foods will help you get the nutrients you need. Things like milk, non-fat yogurt, and certain cheese can be helpful sources of vitamin D. No matter what, be sure that you are staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water.