During pregnancy, a woman experiences a wide variety of changes to different areas of her body, including her teeth and gums. Here are some of the oral health challenges that may accompany pregnancy and what a pregnant woman can do to protect her oral health.
Because of the hormones that accompany pregnancy, expecting women are more prone to develop gingivitis. As more pregnancy hormones are produced, the blood flow to the gingival tissues increases. Additionally, the hormones cause the oral environment to become more bacteria-friendly, especially for the microbes associated with gingivitis.
As a result, the gums become more easily inflamed. In addition, they may appear swollen and bleed. In fact, for many pregnant women, their first recognizable sign of pregnancy is a bit of blood on their toothbrush bristles.
If you are pregnant, to help lessen the chance of pregnancy gingivitis, be sure to brush at least twice daily and floss at least one time per day. In addition, consider using an antibacterial mouth rinse to help lower the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth. Also, have your mouth professionally cleaned regularly.
Many pregnant women suffer from dental decay during pregnancy. This may be due to several factors, such as morning sickness and an increase in the number of oral microbes.
Women who suffer from morning sickness may become nauseous and vomit regularly. As the tooth enamel is exposed to the stomach acids, the enamel becomes demineralized as it would from being exposed to bacterial acids. As a result, cavities may form. An increase in oral microbial numbers exacerbates the situation, making decay even more likely.
Good at-home oral hygiene is imperative to keep decay at bay. Still, many women with morning sickness may find it difficult to brush their teeth without vomiting. Thus, additional measures should be taken, such as rinsing the mouth with water after eating and chewing sugarless gum regularly throughout the day.
Regular dental visits can also help protect the teeth from decay. It is best for women who are planning to become pregnant to schedule a routine appointment before they actually conceive. However, dental cleanings and examinations may still be performed, even in the first trimester. However, more extensive treatments may be delayed until after the first trimester has passed.
Before a dental examination or treatment, expecting mothers should be sure to inform the dental professional that they are pregnant so that proper precautions can be taken.
If you are pregnant and need dental care, contact a dental office like Milner Dentistry in your local area.