How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Teeth

How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Teeth

So lately my friends have been coming to me during their pregnancies and asking me about some issues they have been experiencing with their teeth– which compelled me to write this blog all about how pregnancy can affect your teeth. ?

Something thing that you probably don?t think about when you are pregnant is the effect that it will have on your teeth. When you get pregnant, you?re warned about the many changes you will have with your body, health, and your life overall. But, one area that people forget to talk about is that fact that pregnancy can really affect your teeth and your gums.?

Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase your risk for developing oral health problems.

A lot of the impact that pregnancy can have on your teeth and gums can be minimized if you are practicing proper at home care prior to and during your pregnancy. Things like visiting the dentist on a regular basis, or?properly brushing your?teeth,?become even more important when you are pregnant.

Even with following all of the rules, you can still run into a few dental complications while you?re pregnant. This can become slightly tricky and somewhat of a problem since we encourage pregnant patients to avoid certain types of treatments in certain trimesters of pregnancy. As you may know, everything that comes into your body is carried through to your baby. So, to help you prepare and shed some light on some of the dental complications that may arise and how to deal with them, let’s dive into the three most common ways that pregnancy will affect your mouth.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

One of the more common issues that pregnant women experience is gingivitis (aka gum inflammation). As a result of varying hormone levels, 40% of women will develop gingivitis sometime during their pregnancy — a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Your body and hormones are going through so many different changes and those hormonal changes will oftentimes cause imbalances in your body that can lead to gum inflammation. The increased level of progesterone in pregnancy may make it easier for certain gingivitis-causing bacteria to grow, as well as make gum tissue more sensitive to plaque and exaggerate the body’s response to the toxins that result from plaque. In fact, if you already have significant gum disease, being pregnant may make it worse. Signs and symptoms include red, swollen gums, that bleed more easily.?

For most women, this becomes a bigger issue during your second trimester. Of course you can experience gingivitis even if you are not pregnant due to the increased level of plaque build up and inadequate at-home care, but during your pregnancy, you may be doing everything right and you may still experience this. ?

To prevent pregnancy gingivitis it is especially important to practice good oral hygiene habits, which include brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and using an antimicrobial mouth rinse. If you are due for a professional cleaning, don’t skip it simply because you are pregnant. Now more than ever, professional dental cleanings are particularly important.

If you find that you start experiencing these gum issues, you should definitely set up an appointment to meet with your dentist!

Pregnancy Tumors

Not something that I have heard discussed a lot but it?s really something that you should be paying attention to and on the lookout for. Pregnancy tumors are tumors that typically develop during your second trimester of pregnancy and grow on the outside of your gums. Sometimes a large lump with deep red pinpoint markings on it forms on inflamed gum tissue, usually near the upper gum line. The red lump glistens, may bleed and crust over, and can make eating and speaking difficult and cause discomfort.?It is not as common as other dental complications but can happen in some women. I don?t want you to be too alarmed as these tumors are not cancerous.

A pregnancy tumor is an extreme inflammatory reaction to a local irritation (such as food particles or plaque). When the plaque is accumulating around your teeth these tumors grow in the spaces and on your gums. While they?re not cancerous, they do bleed very easily and are not very appealing to look at. For most women who do develop these pregnancy tumors, they most likely will disappear after giving childbirth.?However, if the tumor interferes with eating, your dentist or a specialist may choose to remove it.

If you find yourself having tumors in your mouth, I would recommend discussing it with your dentist and doctor right away for any treatments you may need before your baby comes. Each woman is different and treatments will vary based on your previous history and the current state of your pregnancy.

You can help prevent or reduce the likelihood that a pregnancy tumor will develop by following good oral hygiene habits at home (brushing twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, flossing once a day, using an antimicrobial mouth rinse) during your pregnancy.

Enamel Damage

One of the huge drawbacks of pregnancy has definitely got to be morning sickness. Or for some people, it?s evening and all day sickness that they deal with. Often times, morning sickness is coupled with vomiting, which can do a lot of damage to your teeth. The acids that your teeth are exposed to when you vomit cause the enamel on your teeth to erode. So, the more vomiting that occurs, the more damage to your teeth.

While there?s no way to get rid of morning sickness all together you can help combat the damage that it is doing to your teeth.

Some of my favorite tips for mitigating the damage caused by vomiting is:

(1) wait 30 min to before brushing your teeth. If your brush your teeth right away you can actually brush the acid deeper into your enamel, causing more damage,

(2) rinse your mouth out with water right after your episode to help neutralize the acids from your stomach that have come into contact with your teeth and your tissues. ?

(3) use a fluoridated mouthwash to help clean up anything that may be left behind after brushing your teeth and to help remineralize tooth structure.

I hope that this post will encourage you to make good decisions and keep your hygiene on point when you are pregnant so that you can prevent gum disease and these other issues. Pregnancy is such a beautiful time and we need you and your baby to remain healthy throughout the entire process. If any of these caused an alarm to go off for you, make sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist ASAP.


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