How Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?
Pregnancy is a beautiful time for a mother. It’s a period devoted to caring for your baby and for yourself. However, as any mother knows, pregnancy creates a lot of hormonal changes, which can cause various issues to appear. Believe it or not, oral issues are common too during pregnancy.
At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, we provide dental care for the whole family, including pregnant women. We’re proud to help all our patients achieve excellent oral health. As part of that commitment to you, we will look at oral health during pregnancy in today’s post.
Effects of Pregnancy on Oral Health
Oral health problems often arise with the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, including:
- Gingivitis and periodontitis. Gum disease is a common issue for pregnant women. Signs of gingivitis include red, sore, or bleeding gums. It is a reversible condition if caught in the mild stages. If left untreated, though, gingivitis turns into periodontitis, which cannot be cured.
- Tooth loss. Estrogen imbalances that sometimes occur during pregnancy put you at a risk for tooth loss. That’s why it’s important to keep your bones strong.
- Erosion. Women who experience morning sickness run the risk of dental erosion. Vomiting causes acid to build up in the mouth, which damages the enamel.
Risks of Untreated Dental Issues
When a pregnant woman neglects to treat her dental health issues, the bacteria in her mouth may make its way to the uterus. This can cause issues including inflammation and preterm labor. Studies show that early labor in women with excessive oral bacteria may be caused by chemicals called prostaglandins. This bacteria can also be passed on to your child and cause dental problems down the road as his/her teeth develop.
Maintaining Oral Health During Pregnancy
These potential oral health problems for pregnant women are scary to consider. But, thankfully, they’re preventable! Just make sure to follow these steps:
- Never forgo brushing and flossing. No matter how exhausted you may be, don’t skip your morning/nightly brushing and flossing routines! And if you find yourself eating more often, brush after every meal. It may sound like a lot, but it’s worth it; remember, you’re at an extra-high risk for bacterial buildup in the mouth.
- Watch your diet. It’s true that you may experience intense cravings while you’re pregnant. And it’s okay to indulge once in a while. But gravitate towards healthy foods to satisfy your cravings. For example, if you’re hankering for something sweet, go for an apple instead of a candy bar.
- Take vitamins. Doctors advise pregnant women to take folic acid supplements, which benefit their entire bodies—mouths included. Folic acid can help prevent gum disease.
- Drink lots of water. Everyone should drink about 8 glasses of water a day, but drinking water is especially important when you’re expecting. It flushes out your mouth (and entire body) of toxins and food debris.
- Keep your regular dental exams. Regular dental checkups (and most surgical procedures) are perfectly safe for expectant mothers. As they directly affect the baby’s wellbeing, they should never be overlooked.
Dental Health for Babies
Once your baby is born, his/her dental health becomes your responsibility. The best way to encourage healthy oral habits in your child is to maintain them yourself. That’s why it’s vital that you treat any oral problems that arise during your pregnancy.
Family Dentist in Gilbert
Our team at Lifetime Family Dental is here to help you to maintain your oral health during pregnancy and beyond. Give us a call if you have any questions or concerns about prenatal dental care. And remember, don’t skip your appointments—dental care during pregnancy is extremely important!