How Does Pregnancy Affect Your Dental Health?

Pregnancy is an exciting time for every parent. It usually yields bountiful happiness for the thrilled expecting parents. However, mothers do need to take extraordinary care of their overall health during pregnancy, especially their dental health. But why?

Before we begin to dissect how pregnancy affects your dental health, we must first learn what exactly dental health is, or what it entails.

What is Dental Health?

Dental health, also known as oral health, refers to the overall health of your mouth, teeth, and gums. Having good dental health is essential for a sound body. And if you are in the prime stages of your pregnancy, good dental health factors as an important element in your prenatal care.

Now that we know that both pregnancy health and dental health are interrelated to each other, we need to dig deeper into this subject and explore other changes that pregnancy brings to your dental health.

How does Pregnancy affect your Dental Health?

Did you know that pregnancy can increase your risk of exposure to oral health problems by two folds? Moreover, according to some studies furnished by the Oral Health Foundation, researchers have discovered that there is a significant relationship between gum diseases and premature birth.

Let us take a look at some of the other ways in which pregnancy influences your teeth and gums:

Hormonal Imbalance

In a biological sense, pregnant women have elevated levels of hormones such as progesterone or oestrogen. Due to this imbalance during the pregnancy period, your risk of exposure to certain oral health problems like periodontal diseases or dental caries is quite high.

Dietary Changes

Since pregnancy forces you to change your dietary habits, you may be consuming more food now. However, while it is important to maintain the health of your foetus, you need to be mindful while consuming sugary food and drinks since they can impact your dental health.

Oral Hygiene Changes

Sometimes, the smell of fluoride toothpaste may cause nausea among women going through the morning sickness stage of their pregnancy. This may discourage them from maintaining proper oral hygiene.

Weak Gum Health

Brushing and flossing your teeth may be difficult during pregnancy because it creates discomfort in your gums, causing them to bleed. This is because pregnancy can even alter or change a woman’s gums and gum tissues.

To sum up, pregnancy can impact both, your dental health, as well as your attitude towards oral health care. However, to have a positive pregnancy outcome, or a healthy pregnancy, expecting mothers need to remain cautious of certain risks to their dental health.

Let us explore these risks and understand their implications on pregnancy.

Dental Concerns During Pregnancy

Cavities

also known as tooth decay or dental caries, they are small areas of damage that encompass the surface of your tooth or teeth. Although improper hygiene can subject a normal person to cavities, the risk for the same is higher among pregnant women.

Gingivitis

It refers to the redness and swelling of the gums. At a more advanced level, gingivitis can also cause gum diseases. Unlike other people, expecting mothers need to be more cautious of gingivitis, or pregnancy gingivitis since their soaring prenatal hormones can elevate their risk of gum inflammation.

Did you know?

Studies from the Turkish-German Gynaecological Association, depict that 60-70% of pregnant women are exposed to gingivitis.

Loose teeth

During pregnancy, you are confronted with high levels of progesterone and oestrogen. This is because these elevated hormone levels can cause your tissues and bones to loosen. As a result of this, you may experience temporary loose teeth.

Periodontal Diseases

Periodontal diseases are the resultant outcome of untreated gingivitis. Thus, if pregnancy gingivitis is not treated on time, it can cause serious infections to the teeth and bones that support them. You may also be subjected to gum disease like periodontitis.
So, remember to treat your gingivitis as soon as it has been discovered!

Tooth Erosion

Have you ever had morning sickness while pregnant? If so, you’d know the hassle of recurrent nausea and vomiting that accompanies this feeling. But did you know that the more you feel sick, the more your teeth are exposed to stomach acid? So, how?

During nausea, when your stomach acid encounters your teeth, it can harm the enamel, which is the hard surface of your teeth. Don’t worry though! Morning sickness usually lasts only during the first trimester of your pregnancy.

While most of these dental concerns are normal and will disappear after the term of your pregnancy, some of these risks can turn into serious dental problems if they remain untreated.

Let us take a look at some of the signs or symptoms that indicate the emergence of dental problems during pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of Dental Problems During Pregnancy?

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, visit your dentist right away. At Micris Dental Clinic we provide quality dental care for new mothers. Early dental intervention or dental treatments play a major role in reducing the risk of further infections to your teeth and preventing problems for your baby.

How can dental problems be prevented during pregnancy?

Listed below are some of the preventive measures you need to adopt to stay safe during pregnancy:

Use supplements

Expecting mothers often do not get the adequate amount of vitamins and minerals required during their prenatal period. Hence, our dentists recommend the consumption of supplement products like vitamin B or Iron, as it helps to enrich the new moms with sufficient nutrients.

These supplements will help curb dental problems while making your gums and teeth strong.

Regular Dental Check-ups

While people should get their teeth and gums checked regularly, this is more important in the case of pregnant women. To preserve your oral health during the entire term of your pregnancy, you need to get routine dental check-ups, and also get regular teeth cleanings.

This will help keep your teeth and gums in good shape.

Maintaining Oral Hygiene

It is important to have a proper dental care regimen. This will help prevent bacteria from breeding inside your mouth and causing problems like cavities or tooth decay. For instance:

  • brush and floss your teeth twice a day (floss at least once a day)
  • make use of a good fluoride toothpaste that does not cause you nausea
  • use antibacterial mouthwash for regular mouth rinses
  • If toothpastes are making you feel queasy, use antacids to clean your mouth

Are dental problems treated differently during pregnancy? Do I need to notify my dentist that I’m pregnant before commencing dental treatment?

Keep reading to find out.

Treating Dental problems during pregnancy:

Firstly, yes. You should always notify the dentist of your pregnancy, or your plan to get pregnant, before commencing any type of dental treatment. Depending on the condition of your oral health, our dentists will suggest a suitable treatment procedure that is safe for both, you, and your baby.

However, listed below are some of the treatments that are safe during pregnancy:

Prescribed Medicine

In the event of treating teeth infections, our dentist advises expecting mothers to use only prescribed medicine, instead of “over-the-counter” alternatives. This is because the dentist will provide you with medications like pain relievers or antibiotics, that are safe for both you and your foetus.

Avoid taking any medications without first talking to your dentist or a prenatal care provider.

Make wise sedation decisions:

For any surgical dental treatments that require anaesthesia, you will need to discuss the sedative options with your dentist. At our dental clinic, we provide a wide variety of sedation dentistry for our expecting mothers.

Case in point, according to the studies mentioned in the American Dental Association (ADA), local anaesthesia is popularly used as a safe sedation option in dental treatments amongst pregnant women.

But wait, are dental X-rays safe for pregnant women?!

Dental X-rays During Pregnancy

Yes. According to the studies provided by BMC Oral Health (a Bio-Med Central Journal), dental x-rays and imaging are completely safe to use for pregnant women. This is because, the amount of radiation used in these dental x-rays is extremely low, and they barely impact the human body.

However, as a safety measure, the dental hygienist will cover you with a lead apron (radiation protective garments) before commencing the scanning procedures. This will limit the radiation exposure to your abdomen.

Also, before beginning the X-ray examination, make sure your dental care provider is aware that you are pregnant or trying to conceive.

Dental health needs to be preserved at all stages of your life. Don’t let pregnancy stop you from protecting your oral health. At Micris Dental Clinic, we have some of the best dentists that will help you achieve your dental care goals, while simultaneously ensuring that your baby is safe in the process.

Check out our website to know more about our services.

Reference List:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn