During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through a significant amount of changes. A woman’s oral health is no exception. During pregnancy, prominent hormones such as progesterone and estrogen surge, posing a higher risk of dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease.
As the pregnancy hormones help to loosen ligaments and provide more blood circulation around a woman’s body, it can also lead to dental changes such as more teeth mobility and potential tooth lose. It is not uncommon to hear of the old saying “a woman loses a tooth for every child that she has”.
This is especially true if a mother has ongoing untreated periodontal disease and/or untreated dental decay. Periodontal disease can see the gums become so infected that the ligaments around it can no longer support a tooth. Tooth decay may rot beyond the point of restoration and hence in both cases, extraction is the only way forward.
Bleeding gums from gingivitis is exacerbated during pregnancy due to the hormones and possibly more mouth breathing. For many pregnant women, nasal congestion may start as early as the first trimester, making it incredibly difficult to breath out of their nose during the night. This can lead to dry mouth. A dry mouth usually leads to more plaque accumulation and hence more irritation to the gums and teeth. Again, this cycle leads to gingivitis and increased chances of tooth decay from plaque/food debris that produce acids and can break down enamel. Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can also over time erode enamel, increasing teeth sensitivity and could further rot an already decaying tooth.
This is why it is very important to continue with dental care during your pregnancy. Dental hygiene visits and exams are vital to maintain a healthy mouth. A Dental Hygienist can clean your teeth and gums at any point during your pregnancy, while a dentist can thoroughly check on your dental health without taking any harmful xrays.
It is also paramount that you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and resume excellent flossing techniques daily. Toothmousse can also be used nightly to decrease the progression of dental decay and/or to decrease teeth sensitivity from acid erosion/gingival recession. A balanced diet with hard cheeses, pasteurised milk and water can help nourish your growing baby in your womb while also keeping your teeth healthy.
At Smile Solutions, we are always happy to help our patients maintain excellent dental health during their pregnancy journey. Our staff also love to ensure that all of our dental procedures are safe and comfortable for all of our expecting mothers. We look forward to seeing you for your next dental hygiene and exam visit.