Pregnancy And Dental Hygiene: Everything You Need To Know
Dental hygiene is all about keeping your mouth, gums, and teeth clean and healthy. It’s an important part of maintaining your overall health, especially if you are pregnant.
Pregnant women are more prone to oral health issues. Left untreated, these issues can affect the health and development of their pregnancies. For example, gum disease has been linked to premature birth.
Does Pregnancy Affect Your Dental Health?
Yes, the changes your body goes through in pregnancy do affect the health of your teeth and gums. Here is how:
- Changes In Your Eating Habits: If you have cravings, you may find yourself eating more of particular foods than you did before. If you crave sugary foods and processed snacks, this can affect your dental health.
- Hormonal Changes: Increase in the levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone in your body can make you more susceptible to certain oral health issues.
- You Clean Your Teeth Less Often Than Before: Pregnancy can lead to exhaustion. It can also make your gums feel tender. Brushing may also cause you to gag especially in those first few months. This can cause you to brush and floss less often than before.
Examples Of Potential Dental Problems In Pregnancy
The changes in your body during pregnancy can make you more susceptible to dental issues during pregnancy, including:
- Gingivitis: Gingivitis is a dental disease that causes inflammation of the gums. 60%-75% of moms-to-be suffer from various forms of gingivitis. Symptoms of the condition to look out for include tender gums, redness and swelling, bleeding gums when you brush or floss, and persistent bad breath
- Periodontal Disease (Also Known As Periodontitis): This is an advanced form of gingivitis that occurs when no action is taken to treat it. It is a serious gum infection that damages the soft gum tissue. It can also destroy the bone that supports your teeth. Symptoms include loose teeth, collection of pus under your gums or teeth, bad breath, and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
- Pyogenic Granuloma (Pregnancy Tumors): This is a benign vascular tumor that occurs on the mucous membranes and skin, and occasionally can be found intravascularly or subcutaneously. These lumps can form on the gums, often occurring between teeth. They often appear red and raw and tend to bleed easily.
- Tooth Erosion: If you vomit a lot (for example as a result of morning sickness), your teeth may be exposed to excessive stomach acid, which can be harmful to the enamel of your teeth.
How Can You Prevent Dental Hygiene Issues?
- Brush your teeth carefully twice a day
- Floss once a day
- Avoid sugary drinks and sugary and/or processed foods
- Limit your snacking
- Eat healthily
- Drink plenty of water
Proper dental and oral hygiene should be part of your daily routine as an expectant mom. You should also talk to your doctor and dentist about how best to go about it if you find that you cannot handle regular brushing and flossing.