For the sake of their babies, pregnant women usually take great care of their health. They watch what they eat and drink, try to get just the right amount of exercise and sleep, and always get regular checkups from their physician or mid-wife. All of which is very important, but what about their teeth?
Sometimes pregnant women’s oral health gets put on the backburner. Meanwhile, there is a very old and misguided myth that notes “one tooth is lost with every pregnancy.” This simply is not true – or, at least, it certainly doesn’t have to be.
If you are expecting, first of all… congratulations! During pregnancy there is so much going on that you might forget to take care of your teeth during this exciting and extra-busy time of your life. What you may not know is that being pregnant can actually worsen some dental problems.
During pregnancy, your body has a surge of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) that can affect your oral health. Your gums and teeth react to this hormone increase by exaggerating how they react to plaque.
Plaque is a colorless and sticky film of bacteria that covers our teeth. When plaque is left untreated, it becomes hard and turns into tartar. A buildup of tartar can lead to gingivitis (infection of the gums), bleeding, red and sensitive gums – as well as tooth decay.
Brushing and flossing helps to decrease the problems that can be caused by plaque and tartar – but to completely remove it, you need to visit your dental office for a professional cleaning.
As soon as you become pregnant, the increase in hormones begins. By the second month, you may already experience a buildup of plaque. It is important for you to have regular dental office visits during your pregnancy, especially if you have had gingivitis in the past, or if you have a tendency for tartar buildup.
Gingivitis is an infection of your gums, and any infection can affect your overall health, as well as that of your baby. Your dental professional may recommend frequent cleanings during your pregnancy to keep the plaque and tartar buildup under control.
During your pregnancy, you may notice lumps along your gum line or even between your teeth. They may bleed easily and may appear red or even raw. These are not cancerous, and are referred to as pregnancy tumors and usually go away following pregnancy. Your dentist will advise you if any treatment is necessary for them.
The most important thing you can do to take care of your teeth during pregnancy is to make sure you continue your regular dental hygiene and have regular dental visits for checkups and cleaning.
Here are some important items to consider:
It is very important to communicate with your dentist about your pregnancy, and any medications you are taking. If you develop a dental infection, there are some antibiotics that are safe to take during your pregnancy, but some are not.
Avoid frequent snacking when you aren’t able to brush. This will help you prevent the buildup of plaque on your teeth and the possible infections that may result because of it.
To achieve the best oral health possible during your pregnancy, continue to practice good oral hygiene habits by brushing and flossing regularly. Visit Gables Sedation & Family Dentistry at the beginning of your pregnancy and continue with follow-ups throughout, as recommended.
Your dental hygienist may become your best friend during your pregnancy and will help you keep your mouth and teeth healthy during this exciting time. Again, congratulations, and be sure to take care of your teeth for your own well-being and that of your baby!