Pregnancy and Your Oral Health

Congratulations! You’re expecting a baby!

You are certainly going to experience a lot of changes over the next 9 months, but please don’t lose sight of your oral health. Pregnancy impacts your entire body, including your mouth.

Here’s a look at what you need to know about your oral health during pregnancy.

How Pregnancy Changes Your Oral Health

The increase hormone production during pregnancy, particularly estrogen and progesterone. The higher levels of these hormones can impact the way that your gums react to plaque.

When hormone levels are normal, plaque buildup can certainly be detrimental to your oral health; however, during pregnancy, if plaque buildup isn’t remove, it can be particularly problematic. Known as ‘pregnancy gingivitis,’ excessive buildup of plaque can cause the gums to become red, inflamed and tender. In fact, the condition can become so aggravated that it can cause the gums to bleed. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can cause peridontitis, an advanced and serious form of gum disease.

Enamel erosion is another issue that some pregnant women may face; particularly those who experience morning sickness. Nausea causes an increased production of stomach acids, which often enters the mouth. That acid can actually erode the enamel and weaken the teeth.

Oral tumors are another issue that pregnant women may have to contend with. These non-cancerous tumors develop when the gums become severally irritated. In most cases, these oral tumors will not require treatment, and they usually subside once the baby is born. However, if a growth becomes excessively large, it can be uncomfortable and can impact proper oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing. If this happens, a pawling dentist may want to remove the growth.

Caring For Your Teeth During Pregnancy

Fortunately, oral health conditions that may occur during pregnancy can be prevented and treated.

To avoid an issue from developing, make sure that you practice proper oral hygiene techniques throughout the entire length of your pregnancy. You should brush your teeth at least two times a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and if possible, after meals. Some other preventative tips include:

  • Flossing daily
  • Rinsing with mouthwash or water, especially after an episode of morning sickness
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Up your intake of foods that are high in vitamin B12 and vitamin C, as these vitamins protect your gums and improve their overall health.
  • Visit the east fishkill dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. A professional cleaning will remove any plaque buildup, thus preventing the development of pregnancy gingivitis.

When to See the Dentist

You can have dental exams, cleanings and treatments at any point during your pregnancy; however, the ideal time is during the second trimester (13 to 27 weeks.)

Should a dental emergency arise, it can be treated at any point of your pregnancy; however, make sure that your obstetrician is notified, especially for any treatments that will require anesthesia or medication.

X-rays are generally avoided during pregnancy; however, they may be necessary in the event of an emergency. If an x-ray is needed, a lead apron will be placed over the abdomen to shield the baby.

If you are pregnant or think that you may be pregnant, remember to let your dentist know. Doing so will allow your fishkill dentist to take proper precautions and provide you with the best care possible.