If you decide to have a child, you know that pregnancy is going to come with all sorts of complications and new experiences, like morning sickness and strange cravings. But while planning for all the doctor’s appointments you’ll need, some people don’t realize they may need to factor dentist appointments in there too. Pregnancy impacts your whole body – including your teeth and gums. Here are some things you should know about how pregnancy affects your oral health.
Pregnancy And Your Teeth
Because of hormones, pregnancy can increase the risk of gum problems. These hormones can cause your gums to swell and lead to a gum disease known as gingivitis. Pregnancy-induced gingivitis usually goes away after birth, but for some, it doesn’t. If that’s the case, your dentist will be able to help.
Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a severe gum disease that can lead to tooth loss, which is why, while rare, you can hear of women losing their teeth during pregnancy. If your gums are swollen and bleeding, your dentist should know so they can offer treatment.
Studies have linked severe gum disease during pregnancy with premature, low-weight births. Luckily, gum disease can be treated.
This is another hormone-induced dental condition. Though tumors sound scary, pregnancy tumors often go away after giving birth. Pregnancy tumors are round, red growths that appear between the teeth that sometimes bleed. They don’t typically cause discomfort, but if they do, you can contact your dentist.
Some pregnant people find it difficult to brush all of their teeth, specifically their back teeth, because it triggers their gag reflex. Brushing all of your teeth is vital to your oral health, so if pregnancy makes you gag while brushing, there are a few things you can do to make it easier for yourself.
- Take your time. There’s no rush.
- Use a toothbrush with a smaller head.
- If the flavor of the toothpaste contributes, switch to another kind.
- Distract yourself with a podcast or show or music or the like.
Frequent vomiting hurts your teeth because the stomach acid can erode the enamel of your teeth. Many pregnant people suffer from morning sickness which makes how vomiting affects teeth a concern. If you struggle with morning sickness, here are some ways you can try to help your teeth:
- Don’t brush immediately after vomiting. The bristle of your toothbrush can damage your enamel.
- Instead, rinse with water and try mixing baking soda in, as baking soda can help neutralize stomach acid.
- Use a fluoride mouthwash.
It’s common knowledge that pregnancy usually causes cravings, often for sweets. As such, too many sweets can lead to cavities. Monitor your sugar intake, and practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing twice daily and flossing, to prevent cravings-induced cavities.
X-Rays – Safe During Pregnancy?
Yes, dental x-rays are safe for pregnant people and won’t harm the fetus. So to are regular dental exams. In fact, with all the potential problems pregnancy can cause for your oral health, you should make sure to make an appointment if you have any concerns about your oral health.
Caring For Your Teeth During Pregnancy
For the most part, prenatal dental care is the same as regular dental care. You brush your teeth twice a day, you floss, you go to any needed dental appointments. Just as you normally would, you have sugar in moderation, leaning toward a healthy diet low in sugar because it’s good for you, your teeth, and your future child. If you have lots of sweet cravings, rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash can help protect your teeth.
If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, tell your dentist, so they can be sure to advise you on any procedures they think should be done before the later trimesters, and so they can advise you on any dental problems that may arise during pregnancy.
Need To Schedule A Dental Appointment?
It’s important to let your dentist know if you are pregnant so they can adjust their care accordingly. If you need to schedule a dental appointment or have any questions, North View Dental is here to help. Contact us at North View Dental today!