As dentists, your dental health matters: we always encourage patients of all ages to take part in good oral care. For expecting and new mothers, their dental health is just as vital, perhaps even more so due to how pregnancy increases the risks of certain oral health problems. Because of these higher risks, we believe in improving oral care for everyone by educating our patients about the various oral risks during pregnancy. When you visit your dentist, your dentist can assess your health and design treatment plans that keep your mouth healthy during your pregnancy. With that in mind, we’re here to explore those various risks, why they often occur in pregnant women, and what you can do to prevent them.
How Your Dental Health Affects Your Pregnancy
Mothers make so many sacrifices, handling the troublesome side effects of pregnancy alongside their daily lives. These struggles can make keeping up other aspects of your health hard to keep up with, and most often, the teeth and gums get left behind on that large to-do list. Taking care of your teeth and gums, however, makes a huge difference for your pregnancy because being pregnant comes with a lot of complications. Your oral care is an essential part of your prenatal care. The changes that occur within your body during your pregnancy can lead to various issues with your dental health, including:
- Pregnancy Gingivitis: Studies from the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research indicate that hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause blood pressure to rise, irritating the gums and causing them to inflame. If left untreated, these irritated gums can lead to periodontal disease, increasing the risk of jaw bone loss and tooth decay. For pregnant women, it can lead to a greater risk of preeclampsia and premature births.
- Enamel Loss: Acids affect everything about our mouths, and most of the time come from the foods we eat. However, nausea and vomiting resulting from pregnancy can increase the acidity within our mouths and weaken the tooth’s enamel.
- Cavities: These small, damaged areas of the teeth become more prominent during pregnancy due to pregnancy exhaustion leading to skipping your nightly routine. It can also occur from brushing less due to irritated gums and nausea while brushing.
- Loose Teeth: Hormones such as progesterone and estrogen can temporarily loosen the tissues that keep the teeth in place.
Next Steps For Protecting Your Health
All of these risks combined can make managing your oral health ever more difficult. For expecting mothers, brushing their teeth and flossing regularly is a vital part of your prenatal care. Still, if you’re having issues brushing and flossing, it’s important to arrange an appointment with your dentist so they can provide you with the treatments needed to keep you and your newborn healthy. Getting regular checkups is vital to help find problems and treat them early and make sure to at least schedule an appointment during your second semester for effective treatment.