Your body goes through a lot of changes while you’re pregnant. Could these changes affect your oral health? Or can your oral health affect the health of your baby? Get all of the answers you need below.
Your Oral Health Is More Important Than You Think
If you thought that keeping your teeth and gums clean was only important for maintaining a bright and beautiful smile, think again. Failing to brush and floss daily or neglecting to see your dentist for cleanings regularly could result in frightening problems during your pregnancy. These could include intrauterine growth restriction, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and premature delivery. Wow!
Gum Disease Might Become a Problem
There is evidence that suggests that there’s a link between premature or underweight birth and a mother’s gum disease. In other words, if you have gum disease while you are pregnant, you might increase your odds of delivering a baby who is too small or you might go into labor too soon. Both issues stress the importance of getting your teeth and gums cleaned and treated as usual during your pregnancy.
Even if you have never had gingivitis before, you might experience it during your pregnancy. This is actually referred to as pregnancy gingivitis because pregnancy hormones might cause the gums to overreact to irritants that are found in plaque. Basically, the plaque will end up building up and irritating your gums, leading to gums that are inflamed, red, and prone to bleeding. Ouch!
Morning Sickness Is Bad News for Your Teeth
Morning sickness isn’t any fun at all, but it can also wreak havoc on your pearly whites. To ensure the stomach acid that comes up with your vomit doesn’t eat away at your enamel and increase your risk of cavities, simply rinse your mouth thoroughly before brushing your teeth.
Swish and spit some water, a mix of water and baking soda (1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup of water), or a diluted mouthwash. Then brush a half hour later to refresh your entire mouth. So easy!
Your Teeth Might Feel Loose
This is pretty scary: during pregnancy, high levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones might cause the bones and the ligaments that hold your teeth in place to loosen. This could occur even if you are not experiencing the symptoms associated with gum disease.
Usually, this will just go away after you deliver your baby (phew!), but if you are at all concerned, asking your dentist could help put your mind at ease. And don’t worry, as your teeth won’t fall out just because you’re pregnant.
There Are Also These Things Called Pregnancy Tumors
While you’re expecting, you might develop what is referred to as a “pregnancy tumor.” But don’t freak out, as these tumors are the result of hormonal changes, and they are benign. These growths will look a lot like raspberries in between your teeth, and they’ll typically pop up within the second trimester.
If you want, you can have your dentist remove pregnancy tumors, especially if they’re uncomfortable or really grossing you out. If you choose to leave them alone, though, they will likely go away once your bundle of joy is born.
What About Radiation from Dental X-Rays?
Should you be concerned about the radiation that you’re exposed to when getting dental x-rays? According to experts, not at all. Just be sure that your dental hygienist or your dentist covers your torso and neck with a protective apron.
Keep Your Entire Mouth Healthy and Clean
During pregnancy, it’s important to keep your entire mouth clean, so focus on brushing twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Flossing once a day will also help to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Beyond following a dental care routine at home every day, it is also important to eat right while you are pregnant. This will not only help ensure the health of your baby, but will also help reduce the risk of tooth decay. So focus on limiting your intake of sugary foods and drinks, and try consuming a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, high-fiber foods, and foods that are high in calcium.
Also, if you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s best to contact your dentist as soon as possible to figure out what’s going on:
- Painful or bleeding gums, or gums that are swollen, sore, shiny, or red
- Pain anywhere in your mouth, including a toothache
- Growths, such as lumps or sores, within the mouth
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
A Dentist Can Provide the Best Advice During Your Pregnancy!
Do you have any questions about your dental care routine while you’re pregnant? Are you worried that you might not be doing everything that you can to maintain strong teeth and gums?
Your dentist could steer you in the right direction for a safe and healthy pregnancy. And even if you don’t have any specific questions but you’re scheduled to see your dentist for a standard cleaning and checkup, it’s a good idea to tell him or her that you’re pregnant. In this way, the appropriate steps can be taken to care for your mouth and your baby.