Pregnancy is a joyful experience, but did you know that it can affect your teeth and gums? When a woman is pregnant, there are many physical and hormonal changes that can affect oral health. Problems with oral health are not only troublesome but can affect the overall well-being of both mother and baby. So, let’s take a closer look at the relationship between pregnancy and oral health, and the challenges it can bring.
How Do Hormones Affect Oral Health During Pregnancy?
As pregnancy progresses, the levels of estrogen and progesterone rise, increasing the amount of blood flowing to the gums. As a result, they may become sensitive and have increased levels of bacteria which can cause gum problems and decay to tooth enamel.
Symptoms of gingivitis include soreness and bleeding when brushing or flossing. Women with pregnancy gingivitis should seek help quickly to avoid it developing into more serious conditions, such as periodontal disease. Gum diseases may have an impact on the growing fetus and have been linked to premature births, lower birth weights, and also conditions such as preeclampsia, so it is essential to keep a close watch on your oral health.
How Morning Sickness Affects Teeth and Gums
It is during the first trimester of pregnancy that morning sickness often occurs. Unfortunately, for some women, it can last throughout pregnancy. With frequent vomiting comes potential problems for teeth and gums. When teeth are regularly exposed to stomach acid, it can erode the enamel, increasing the risks of tooth decay and gum disease.
For women who are experiencing morning sickness, it is recommended to rinse out thoroughly with water after vomiting to reduce the amount of acid contacting the teeth. Avoid brushing straight away, as this can rub the acid into the enamel further.
Looking After Your Teeth and Gums During Pregnancy
Maintaining oral hygiene is the best way to minimize the risks of gum disease and gingivitis affecting both mother and baby. To do this, there are some essential steps to take:
• Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, using a soft bristle brush to avoid irritating the gums. Flossing daily will also help prevent plaque buildup in those hard-to-reach places between teeth.
• Eat healthily, avoiding food and drinks that contain large amounts of sugar.
• Drink plenty of water to increase saliva, which is a natural defense against bacteria.• Schedule regular dental check-ups. This ensures that any potential problems are dealt with promptly, avoiding further issues.
• If you are suffering from frequent morning sickness, it is a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional to help reduce the symptoms. Not only will you feel better, but it will benefit your oral health too.When pregnant, good oral health and hygiene are essential. Being proactive is key, so ensure you keep up with your brushing and flossing routine and keep a close eye on your gum health.
If you have any concerns about your oral health during pregnancy, contact the team at Pediatric Dental Specialists for help and advice.