There’s plenty to be excited about when you have a baby on the way and plenty of health concerns to pay attention to. Among them are the health of your teeth, gums, and other oral structures. The same hormonal changes that result in dramatic impacts on your mood, sleep, hunger can also lead to dental consequences. Between conception and the third trimester, there are thankfully options for protecting your oral health and avoiding long-term consequences.
The Oral Health/Pregnancy Connection
The Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research published the results of a study demonstrating how women who are pregnant can experience oral health complications. Their gums and teeth have been shown to be impacted by the changes that are affecting their body as they carry their child. Heightened estrogen levels and increased progesterone causes blood flow to increase, causing the blood vessels found in the gums to expand. This extra internal pressure results in a heightened sensitivity to pressure that can make bleeding more common during pregnancy. This results in a form of gestational gingivitis that begins to affect women during the first and second trimesters.
- Enamel Damage: Morning sickness and nausea can both lead to heightened acid levels in the mouth of expectant mothers. Acid softens and erodes enamel, making it more susceptible to dental decay.
- Dental Cavities: Dietary changes, poor hygiene, and enamel damage all increase the likelihood of the mother developing cavities.
- Tooth Loss: Enamel can cause gums to become more sensitive and separate from the roots of the teeth, while weakened enamel can cause the tooth to break down, become loose, and fall out.
Other health concerns related to pregnancy and periodontal disease include preeclampsia and higher risks of premature birth. Giving birth before your due date can put the baby at risk due to low birth weights and potential complications from underdeveloped organs. Seeing your dentist to treat dental health problems during your pregnancy is just one more way of preventing this.
Tips For The Expectant Mother For Protecting Their Teeth
Maintaining consistent visits to your dentist throughout your pregnancy is the first step to ensuring your smile comes out healthy and beautiful. Receiving dental care throughout your pregnancy is generally safe with minimal adjustment. Throughout all three trimesters, your dentist will avoid giving x-rays, though the minimal amount of radiation used would be safe for both you and baby. A regular dental hygiene routine will go a long way towards protecting your teeth, but there’s more you can do. Along with maintaining a diet high in calcium, you can also make sure to brush your teeth or rinse anytime you experience morning sickness. By protecting your oral health, you’re setting a good precedent for the new life you’re bringing into the world. Contact your dentist to get additional advice on how to protect your teeth during pregnancy.