Throughout pregnancy, your hormones change. Therefore, pregnancy can influence your dental health and increase your risk of gum disease (gingivitis) and infection of the bone that holds your teeth in place (periodontitis). Additionally, periodontitis has been linked to unfavorable pregnancy outcomes like preterm labor or low birth weight babies.
The changes in your body that occur during pregnancy might have an impact on your teeth and gums. For instance:
During pregnancy, your body produces higher amounts of certain hormones like progesterone and estrogen. This might make you more vulnerable to oral health issues.
Your eating patterns might alter. During pregnancy, you may consume more certain foods than before becoming pregnant. Foods you eat can influence your oral health. For example, some women experience a condition called pica while they are pregnant. As a result, they end up eating items that might harm their dental health, including a lot of ice or inedible foods.
If you’re pregnant, you might clean and floss your teeth less frequently than you did previously. This may be the result of sensitive gums. Some pregnant women may feel nauseous after brushing and flossing their teeth.
Causes of Oral Health Issues During Pregnancy
Pregnancy-related oral health issues are frequently caused by:
- Gum Disease
- Cravings for Sweet Foods
Pregnancy hormones can increase the risk of gum disease in particular women, including:
- Gingivitis (Gum Infection), which is more likely to happen in the second trimester. Symptoms include gum swelling and bleeding, most frequently when brushing and flossing between teeth.
- Periodontal Disease is an inflammation of the gum and bone around a tooth (gums, ligament and bone). It is brought on by untreated gingivitis, which can result in tooth loss.
- Pregnancy Epulis, also known as a pyogenic granuloma, is a red, round growth that forms on the gum and is prone to bleeding.
If you experience gum issues while pregnant, you should see a dentist before giving birth. While most pregnancy-related gum issues go away once the baby is born, a small percentage of women may experience gum disease that progresses to a more severe stage and requires treatment after delivery.
Do not stop brushing your teeth if your gums start to bleed. Instead, brush at least twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride-containing toothpaste.
Pregnancy morning sickness can expose your teeth to stomach acid and weaken them by demineralizing the surface of your teeth. This increases your chances of tooth decay and tooth erosion.
There are three things to do if you vomit due to morning sickness:
- After vomiting, rinse your mouth with water or fluoride mouthwash.
- Wait at least 30 minutes after rinsing your mouth to lessen the acid in your mouth further.
- Brush your teeth.
Cravings for Sweet Foods
Dietary adjustments are among the simplest things you can do to protect your dental and general health. For example, you can significantly reduce the risk of tooth decay by consuming less sugar, which also positively affects many other aspects of your health.
In addition, switching to fresh fruit and vegetables is a fantastic method to take care of your dental health and improve your and your baby’s health.
What Are the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Dental Issues During Pregnancy?
Dental issues might show up as any of the following symptoms:
- Poor breath
- Loose teeth
- Mouth sores or lumps on the gums
- New gaps between teeth
- Receding gums (when your gums move away from your teeth so you can see the roots of your teeth) or pus along your gum line (where your gums meet your teeth)
- Red, swollen, painful, or shiny gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Toothache or other discomforts
Make a dental appointment as soon as you experience any discomfort or swelling. If you have an infection, you must get treated immediately to help your baby avoid difficulties.
How Are Dental Issues Treated During Pregnancy?
Ensure your dentist is aware of your pregnancy if you have a dental issue requiring treatment. You can postpone therapy until after the delivery of your child, depending on your health. Pregnancy-safe treatments include:
Dentists prescribe medications such as painkillers and antibiotics to treat infections. If you’re pregnant, your dentist can prescribe safe medication for both you and the unborn child.
Inform your prenatal care provider if your dentist has prescribed you any medication. Never take medicine without first discussing it with your prenatal care provider.
Medicine used to treat or avoid pain is known as anesthesia. Local anesthesia is applied to a particular area of the body, such as the mouth, before receiving a dental filling or having a tooth extracted. Using this medication while pregnant is safe.
Anytime during your pregnancy, you can receive dental care. However, try to arrange any elective treatments—those that are not necessary to preserve your health or the health of your unborn child—during your second trimester or even after giving birth.
How to Maintain Good Oral Health During Pregnancy?
When it comes to maintaining a healthy mouth, you should:
- Floss daily
- Drink fluoridated water when it is available
- Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.