Being a mommy-in-the-making is a super exciting time, and can also be a time of great change. Before baby comes into this world, we can become stressed and overwhelmed with all that needs to get done, and we may not take great care of ourselves while being so busy. Oral health effects pregnancy and can make a huge difference for your baby, so it’s important to remember you’re brushing for two!
This blogger’s viral post shows how pregnancy can effect your teeth: How do I take care of my teeth during pregnancy?
Common Oral Health Problems
It’s actually quite common for pregnant women to experience declining gum and teeth health. Here’s what can cause problems:
- While most of us are tired at the end of a day, but pregnancy leads to a whole new level of exhaustion. So, it may not seem like a big deal to skip a nightly brushing or flossing, but really, this can lead to bacteria and plaque build-up and cause harm in the near future. It’s also an easy time to skip seeing your dentist, but keeping up with your regular check-ups is more important than ever.
- Eating More. Whenever we frequently eat, snack, or graze, we’re exposing our mouths to more acids. This can break down our enamel faster, making our teeth more fragile and exposed to acid-loving bacteria.
- Hormonal Changes. Pregnant women go through a myriad of hormonal changes, and these changes can cause pregnancy gingivitis. This is when your gums become inflamed and can bleed.
- Morning Sickness. Just as unpleasant as it sounds, morning sickness can do a number on our mouths. When we deal with morning sickness, we are introducing more acid into the mouth that also eats away at our enamel and puts us more at risk for bacteria and cavities.
- Pregnancy vitamins contain something called Folic Acid, and it’s in there to help with a healthy pregnancy. Make sure you avoid gummy or chewy vitamins that can damage your teeth and contain high amounts of sticky sugar.
Learn more: https://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/todays-dental-news/item/8409-does-oral-health-affect-pregnancy
Gum Disease Effects More Than Just Your Mouth
While knowing about and treating gum disease is extremely important for your dental/oral health, it’s also crucial to remember that your body is all connected, so if one area suffers, your whole body with feel the effects. The same can be said about gum disease. It affects more than just your mouth. In fact, according to WebMD, inflammation in the gums is directly linked with other health problems, including:
- Heart attacks
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Premature birth
Gum Disease and Premature Birth
At least a couple of major studies have shown that there is a link between gum disease and premature birth. Researchers of one study who published their results in The Journal of the American Dental Association found that pregnant women with chronic gum disease were four to seven times more likely to deliver prematurely (before week 37) and underweight babies than mothers with healthy gums.
Mothers with the most severe periodontal disease delivered the most prematurely, at 32 weeks.
Related Article: Gum Disease: How can I prevent it? How does it effect my body?
Effects on Baby
We know that oral health effects pregnancy, because a mom’s oral health is directly linked to her baby’s oral health. When a pregnant mother is dealing with excess bacteria in the mouth, it can enter the bloodstream and enter into the uterus. This can introduce premature labor. So, brushing your teeth while pregnant can reduce pregnancy complications. This will also avoid any dental infections in newborns. Frequent brushing, flossing, and dental visits can help you maintain a healthy mouth for yourself and your baby!
Oral Health Before, During, and After Pregnancy
As you know, it’s important for you to take good care of your teeth and gums while you’re pregnant. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that boost the risk of developing gum disease which, in turn, can affect the health of your developing baby.
Below are some tips to help you maintain good oral health before, during, and after pregnancy:
Before You Get Pregnant
Try to make a dental appointment before getting pregnant. That way, your teeth can be professionally cleaned, gum tissue can be carefully examined, and any oral health problems can be treated in advance of your pregnancy.
Dental Care While Pregnant
- Tell your dentist (and doctor) if you are pregnant. Routine dental care can be done any time during pregnancy. Any urgent procedure can be done, as well. However, all elective dental procedures should be postponed until after the delivery. Before you have your dental appointment, check with your obstetrician to see if they have any special precautions/instructions for you.
- Tell your dentist the names and dosages of all drugs you are taking, including medications and prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor, as well as any specific medical advice your doctor has given you. Your dentist may need to alter your dental treatment plan based on this information.
- Dental X-rays can be done during pregnancy. Your dentist will use extreme caution to safeguard you and your baby, such as shielding your abdomen and thyroid. Advances in technology have made X-rays much safer today than in past decades.
- Don’t skip your dental checkup appointment simply because you’re pregnant. Now more than any other time, regular exams are important because pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and for tender gums that bleed easily, a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Forty percent of women will develop gingivitis sometime during their pregnancy. If you already have significant gum disease, being pregnant can make it worse.
- Pay particular attention to any changes in your gums during pregnancy. If tenderness, bleeding, or gum swelling occurs at any time during your pregnancy, talk with your dentist or periodontist as soon as possible.
- Follow good oral hygiene practices to prevent and reduce oral health problems, which include brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and using an antimicrobial mouth rinse. If you are due for a professional cleaning, don’t skip it simply because you are pregnant. Now more than ever, professional dental cleanings are particularly important. Gum disease that doesn’t get better may need to be treated by a dental professional. Treatments may include antibiotics.
Managing Morning Sickness
- If morning sickness is keeping you from brushing your teeth, change to a bland-tasting toothpaste during pregnancy. Ask your dentist or hygienist to recommend brands.
- Rinse your mouth out with water or a mouth rinse if you suffer from morning sickness and have bouts of frequent vomiting.
Eating Right for Your Teeth and Baby
- Avoid sugary snacks. Sweet cravings are common during pregnancy. However, keep in mind that the more frequently you snack, the greater the chance of developing tooth decay.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Your baby’s first teeth begin to develop about 3 months into pregnancy. Healthy diets containing dairy products, cheese, and yogurt are a good source of these essential minerals and are good for baby’s developing teeth, gums, and bones.
After You’ve Had Your Baby
If you had any gum problems during your pregnancy, see your dentist soon after delivery to have a full oral health check.
6 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Mouth During Pregnancy:
- Brush thoroughly twice a day.
- Floss between your teeth daily.
- Eat a balanced diet. If you snack, do so in moderation.
- Visit your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning and check-up.
- If you need help controlling plaque, your dentist may recommend rinsing at night with an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
- If you have morning sickness and are vomiting frequently, try rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to stop stomach acid from attacking your teeth.
Oral Health Effects Pregnancy: Keep Your Teeth Healthy at Adams Dental Group
Being pregnant means exciting changes are on the way for you and your family, and if you want to ensure a healthy start for your baby, take care of your teeth while you’re pregnant. Along with ensuring your health and the health of your baby, good oral care will also help to prevent dental discomfort while you’re pregnant. And if you’re pregnant now or trying for a baby, then schedule your appointment with Dr. Roberts at Adams Dental Group family dentistry today.
Local dentist, Travis A. Roberts and his experienced, friendly team at Adams Dental Group offer affordable family dentistry in Kansas City, KS. We have two locations that are conveniently located and offer appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. Dental health awareness is an important aspect of our patient education. At Adams Dental Group, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to specialty procedures, including dental implants, dentures, endodontic or root canal treatment, teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at (913) 296-8030 to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Travis A. Roberts, DDS June 22nd, 2021
Posted In: Dental Health Tips
Tags: gum disease, oral health during pregnancy, pregnancy gingivitis