Pregnancy results in many changes throughout the body. Although it is often overlooked, there are specific risks involving your dental health. We will be discussing the dental conditions that may occur during pregnancy as well as how to safely obtain dental treatment.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Your Teeth?
For some women, pregnancy can lead to dental issues. Pregnant women are more prone to periodontal (gum) disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, between 60 to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, which is an early stage of periodontal disease. The signs of gingivitis include redness and swelling of the gums. The hormonal changes of pregnancy are believed to contribute to gum disease.
Unfortunately, the dental issues related to pregnancy are not limited solely to the gums. Per the March of Dimes, being pregnant makes it more likely that you will have cavities. Additionally, higher levels of progesterone and estrogen associated with pregnancy may temporarily loosen the bones and tissues that surround your teeth, resulting in loose teeth or even loss of teeth.
Another dental issue that can occur in pregnancy is dental erosion. Most women experience nausea and vomiting at some point during pregnancy. The vomiting exposes your teeth to stomach acid, which may erode tooth enamel.
In some cases, pregnant women may change their dietary habits as well as dental hygiene routine. For example, pregnant women may consume more sweet snacks or other foods that contribute to tooth decay. If pregnant women have swollen gums, they may floss or brush less often or less thoroughly due to discomfort.
How To Take Care of Your Teeth During Pregnancy?
It is important to discuss your situation with your provider prior to seeking dental care. Pregnant women should be aware of the dental risks associated with pregnancy. If you are pregnant, make your dental health one of your priorities. It is important to consistently brush and floss your teeth. Additionally, dental cleanings and checkups are recommended. Make sure to inform your dentist if you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy. In some cases, x-rays may be postponed due to potential effects of radiation. If treatment is necessary, make sure to loop in your obstetric provider. There are some medications that may be contraindicated in pregnancy. Finally, try to maintain a healthy diet and limit intake of sugary snacks.
Pregnant women should be informed regarding the dental issues that are associated with pregnancy. Communicate early on with your obstetric provider regarding any dental concerns. Maintaining good dental hygiene can help reduce the likelihood of some of these risks.
Have you experienced dental issues during pregnancy? We would love to hear from you! Please share in the comments below.