Oral Care During Pregnancy
Families expecting a new baby certainly have a lot on their minds, and it’s easy to allow every day matters like oral health fall to the wayside. However, hormonal changes can increase the risk of dental issues, including gum disease, cavities, and more.
Poor oral health during pregnancy can result in concerning outcomes like premature birth, low birth weight, or oral health problems for the baby. Expectant mothers can prevent a number of dental-related pregnancy outcomes by understanding associated risks and maintaining good oral care at home.
Why is Dental Health Important for a Healthy Pregnancy?
According to the CDC, nearly 60 to 75% of women will experience pregnancy gingivitis. This early stage of periodontal disease is more likely to occur during pregnancy due to the changes in hormones. If left untreated, it can lead to preterm births or low birth weight.
How Pregnancy Affects the Health of Your Teeth
The body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy, thanks to hormones pumping more blood through the system. Oral health may not seem like it should be affected by having a baby, but many women do experience dental problems while they are pregnant.
Hormonal changes may cause inflamed gums, which can lead to pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnant women who notice their gums bleeding with more regularity should consult their dentist as soon as they notice. They may require more dental visits during their pregnancy to prevent the gingivitis from worsening. Don’t be alarmed if you notice bleeding gums, this mild form of gingivitis is very common in expectant women.
The old adage that a woman loses a tooth for each baby they have is not true, however it is not unusual for pregnant women to feel like their teeth are loose. Progesterone and estrogen can lose the ligaments and bones that secure the teeth, causing them to feel loose. This feeling should go away after the baby is born, but if it lingers, be sure to get in touch with your dentist.
While the name sounds scary, pregnancy tumors are non-malignant growths that can occur during pregnancy. The raspberry-like growths form between the teeth and are caused by hormonal changes. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) they appear primarily during the second trimester and can be removed if they cause discomfort.
Cravings can mean consumption of more sweet treats that can cause plaque build up and eventually lead to cavities. If you experience frequent cravings for sweet foods, try going for fruits instead, which can help clean the teeth.
Morning Sickness and Tooth Decay
Many women suffer from morning sickness during their pregnancies. Frequent vomiting can coat the teeth in strong stomach acids that can damage tooth enamel and cause decay over prolonged periods of time, leading to tooth loss or worse.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, avoid brushing your teeth immediately after throwing up. Doing so right afterward can scratch the enamel of the weakened tooth. Rather, wait an hour before brushing, and in the meantime, rinse out the mouth with water and follow up with a fluoridated mouthwash.
Caring for Teeth During Pregnancy
Many women wonder whether it is safe to see the dentist while they are pregnant. The answer is yes, and in fact, we may even recommend additional dental treatments for women showing signs of the pregnancy-related oral health care issues mentioned above.
The main concern for many women are dental x-rays. Know that they are perfectly safe because a protective apron will minimize exposure to the abdomen.
As far as at home prevention, there are a few things women can do maintain good dental care outside of the office.
Continue brushing and flossing regularly as before. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush twice daily and brush gently to avoid irritating the more sensitive gums. Be sure to use a fluoridated toothpaste and floss once per day.
Increase calcium intake during pregnancy. Calcium keeps the bones strong for both mom and baby. Good sources include organic soy products, like milk and tofu, cheese, unsweetened yogurt, and seeds such as poppy, sesame, and chia.
Add more foods high in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is Calcium’s partner in strength. They work together to create strong bones. Many of the foods high in calcium are also fortified with Vitamind D. Additional choices include fatty fish, like salmon and eggs.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon, schedule an appointment with our dentist in Monroe, NC at Monroe Family Dentistry. We will make sure that your oral health is in good condition before, during, and after the arrival of your little one. Give us a call at 704.776.4278 to schedule your appointment. We proudly serve the Monroe, NC community.
Come See Us At Our Dental Practice in Monroe, NC
Monroe Family Dentistry is there for you and your children from day one and we are happy to work with you and your child to start habits from birth. If you live near Monroe, NC call us to schedule an appointment today at 704.776.4278.