How pregnancy affects your dental health
For a pregnant woman, the biggest myth is that you shouldn’t visit a dentist during your pregnancy. You should definitely visit a dentist when you are pregnant. Many pregnant women can make it throughout their pregnancy without any oral health issues, but changing hormones can wreak havoc on existing dental issues or create new ones. You can become more susceptible to gum disease (gingivitis) and serious gum infection (periodontitis) among other issues.
Planning for a baby?
It is best for you to schedule a dental appointment before you get pregnant. At your appointment, your teeth will be cleaned by professionals, your gum tissue will be carefully inspected and any oral health issues will be diagnosed and treated before your pregnancy.
Potential dental issues
During pregnancy, bleeding gums can become an issue for women. Pregnancy gingivitis is a condition where gums become inflamed, sensitive, and swollen due to hormonal changes. Pregnancy gingivitis can cause redness, swelling in the gums, and severe bleeding when pregnant women brush or floss their teeth.
What to do: Use anti-gingivitis toothpaste and mouthwash, and floss every day.
Excessive saliva, also known as ptyalism, is when you produce more saliva than normal due to hormonal changes, heartburn, or irritants. This issue would typically occur for pregnant women during the first three months of their pregnancy. It tends to diminish or disappear when you stop feeling nauseous.
What to do: Brush your teeth and use mouthwash twice a day, eat small and balanced meals, drink more water, and swallow excess saliva.
Pregnant women tend to be more prone to tooth decay (cavities) if they experience morning sickness, eat more carbohydrates or start to neglect their oral hygiene in any way. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth use sugar to create acids that break down your teeth. Symptoms of tooth decay can include tooth sensitivity, bad breath, and toothache in pregnancy.
What to do: Reduce or limit the amount of food and drinks you consume with added sugar, and make sure to brush twice a day and floss.
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition where your salivary glands do not secrete enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. It is quite common during pregnancy due to your changing hormones and your need for more water for your developing baby. Dry mouth can be caused by dehydration, gestational diabetes, snoring and sleep apnea, or thrush (a fungus).
What to do: Drink a lot of water, and try using sugarless gum or hard candies to keep your mouth moist and encourage saliva secretion.
For some women, overgrowths of tissue – referred to as pregnancy tumours – develop on the gums, typically during the second trimester. Do not be alarmed, it is not cancer. A pregnancy tumour is an inflammatory reaction (swelling) that occurs due to an irritant, like plaque or food particles. They often show up between teeth, bleed easily, and have a red, raspberry-like appearance.
What to do: Pregnancy tumours usually disappear after your baby is born, however, if they affect your food consumption you can speak to your dentist about removing them.
If you have any concerns about having bad teeth after your pregnancy, speak to a Newmarket dental professional at Dawson Dentist. Our dental clinic in Newmarket will help you maintain oral health during your pregnancy and answer any concerns you have. To schedule a consultation with a dentist in Newmarket, speak to us.