Understanding Your Teeth During Pregnancy
Happy Mother’s Day to all expectant moms! According to the American Dental Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, all women are encouraged to get professional dental care while pregnant, especially since oral health reflects good overall health.
How Pregnancy Affects Your Mouth
Although a significant number of women can make it through the entire nine months without needing any dental work, pregnancy can cause some oral conditions to worsen, as well as create new dental problems.
The following are dental health conditions women should look out for while pregnant:
Tooth Decay or Cavities
Tooth decay is nothing out of the ordinary, but pregnant women may be more prone to cavities for several of reasons. For one, if you are eating (and craving) more sugar and carbohydrates than usual, it can cause decay. Morning sickness can also increase the amount of acid in your mouth, which can eat away at the outer covering (enamel) of your tooth.
Gingivitis and Gum Disease
During pregnancy, your mouth can be affected by the many hormonal changes your body is going through. You will experience a rapid increase in estrogen levels during the first trimester, and your progesterone levels will be extraordinarily high.
Some women may develop pregnancy gingivitis, which is the inflammation of the gums that can cause swelling and tenderness. Your gums may also experience bleeding during teeth brushing or flossing. When left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious forms of gum disease. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to prevent this.
Some women are susceptible to overgrowths of tissue called pregnancy tumors, which appear on the gums during the second trimester. Although the condition is far from cancerous, the swelling between teeth is rather uncomfortable, making it difficult for a pregnant woman to enjoy food. These tumors bleed easily and have a red, raw-looking appearance. They usually disappear after your child is born, but if you are concerned, talk to your family dentist about treatment recommendations.
How to Maintain Good Teeth During Pregnancy
Being pregnant comes with many responsibilities, and among them is the way you care for your teeth. Here are ways to maintain a healthy mouth during pregnancy:
- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes long with an ADA-accepted toothpaste twice a day.
- Floss between your teeth daily.
- Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash to prevent plaque and tartar.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. If you are craving sugar and sodium, eat in moderation.
- If you experience morning sickness and are frequently vomiting, rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to prevent stomach acid from attacking your teeth.
- Visit your dentist during the first month of your pregnancy and ask how often you should get check-ups and professional cleaning.
In between trips to your obstetrician, setting up the nursery, and anticipating the arrival of your baby, do not forget to make time for a dental appointment. At Kyrene Family Dentistry, we can provide expectant mothers with general dentistry work and help with any pregnancy-related dental symptoms. Call us today at 480-705-9005. We look forward to delivering the professional dental care you and your family needs.