How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Oral Health

September 10, 2018

During pregnancy, the body changes so much that you might feel outright abnormal for those nine months. Different hormones course through your body and might cause mood swings, food cravings and other sensations. One thing you might not know, though, is that pregnancy affects your mouth and your oral health as well.

Possible Side Effects During Pregnancy

While pregnant, you experience an increase in the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones have many functions, but one side effect of them is that they can worsen gingivitis symptoms. Gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, is a common condition in people that can be improved by flossing regularly. Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious gum disease. Pregnant women are more at risk for non-cancerous tumors in the mouth that grow when swollen gums become irritated. The tumors often go away on their own after the baby is born, but you should see a dentist if they’re getting in the way of brushing or chewing. Make regular appointments to check your gums during pregnancy.

These complications might sound alarming, but there are things you can do to prevent them. Brush your teeth near the gum line at least twice a day — it’s better to do it after every meal. Meet with your dentist after you decide to become pregnant so that you can discuss your oral health options. Some sources recommend a cleaning in the first trimester and others don’t, so meeting with your dentist before you are pregnant is a good way to determine what cleaning schedule works best for you.

The best time to receive dental treatments is between months four and six of your pregnancy. Elective procedures should be postponed after the child’s birth, and X-rays shouldn’t be taken unless it’s an emergency. Certain procedures might impede the baby’s development, so that’s why dentists are cautious when performing dental care on pregnant women.

If the taste of toothpaste brings on morning sickness, switch to a bland-tasting toothpaste or rinse fully with water. Brushing is still very important during pregnancy, so stick with it. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet during pregnancy will benefit your teeth. Dairy products, nuts, strawberries and other foods are great, while sugary foods contribute to tooth decay.

Your oral health during your pregnancy may change or worsen slightly for those nine months, but if you take the proper precautions, you will decrease the chance of permanent tooth or gum damage.

Call to schedule a consultation at Maya Dental in Palatine, and we’ll help to maintain your dental health throughout your pregnancy!