What oral health problems are linked with pregnancy?
Pregnancy increases your risk factor for developing certain oral health problems. This is due to the hormone changes in your body that can affect how it reacts to bacteria in dental plaque and alter the blood flow to your gums.
The most important oral health problems to be aware of during this time are:
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums by bacteria. This can cause the gums to become swollen, red, and are more likely to bleed when brushing. If allowed to progress unchecked, it can damage supporting structures of the teeth, leading to tooth loss.
Pregnant women are at higher risk of gum disease due to hormonal changes, especially during the second trimester. The condition may also put your child at risk, with an estimated 18 out of 100 cases of premature birth being linked to gum disease.
You may wish to see us in Modbury if you notice any of the symptoms of gum disease, so they can examine your mouth and discuss treatment options.
It is likely that you have experienced increased cravings and, more likely, they are for sweet, sugary snacks. Giving in to these cravings too often can increase your risk of tooth decay.
Tooth decay happens when bacteria in dental plaque feed on sugar and release acids that can wear down the hard enamel surface of your teeth. This can lead to cavities which will require a filling, root canal, or even extraction is a tooth is too badly damaged to repair.
Regular tooth brushing and flossing can help prevent plaque forming, but the more sugar you consume, the higher your risk of tooth decay will be. You should try to reduce added sugars in your diet and choose healthier alternatives for your cravings, if possible.
It is not just bacteria that can damage your teeth. If you have morning sickness during your pregnancy, your teeth will be exposed to acids in vomit. This can temporarily weaken the enamel and make it easier to develop cavities.
You should avoid brushing your teeth shortly after vomiting, as this could scrape away the enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to plaque and more sensitive to heat and cold. Instead, you should rinse your mouth with water and consider gargling with a fluoride mouthwash to help disinfect your mouth. You can brush your teeth as you normally would after 1 hour.
How can I lower my risks?
Many oral health problems are preventable, and you can lower your risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay during pregnancy by sticking to a good oral hygiene routine. This includes:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing between your teeth every day to remove trapped food and plaque
- Rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash
- Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet
- Keeping up with your scheduled dental visits
If you’re planning to get pregnant soon, it’s a good idea to book a comprehensive dental examination with us in Modbury – we’re near Tea Tree Plaza and Surrey Downs.
If you could benefit from treatment, this is best done before pregnancy as there is a lower risk of complications.
Need to see a dentist in Modbury?
If you think it’s time for your dental check-up and clean, or if you just want to talk to a dentist about anything, contact our friendly team at Tea Tree Dental.