When a woman becomes pregnant, every aspect of her health changes. The same is true for her oral health, both in how it’s affected by pregnancy and how dentists approach caring for teeth while a woman is pregnant. Here is what you should know about your oral health if you were to become pregnant and how to care for your teeth.
Pregnancy increases the amount of progesterone your body produces, which can have a negative affect on the health of your gums. Dental experts have found that many women develop gingivitis between the second and eighth months of the pregnancy. The chances of developing gingivitis while pregnant are increased if your gums aren’t in perfect health beforehand, but it is not an issue that is reserved for those with imperfect oral health. Your immune system alters when you become pregnant, and can change the way your body responds to the bacteria that causes gingivitis, so if you notice red or bleeding gums during your pregnancy, don’t panic. Make sure you are brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and using an anti-microbial mouth wash as well, and then call your dentist to explain the situation.
Morning sickness is a common issue for women who are pregnant during their first trimester, and the stomach acid involved can take a toll on the enamel on your teeth. No one would blame you for wanting to clean your mouth after experiencing morning sickness, but please resist the urge to brush your teeth immediately afterwards, and begin with just rinsing your mouth out with water. If you brush your teeth immediately after being sick, the bristles of your toothbrush will scrape the acid-weakened enamel off your teeth. Wait half an hour after to brush your teeth and rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash, and your teeth will survive your morning sickness.
Dental Care While Pregnant
If you know that you are pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant, don’t leave your dentist out of the loop. Because of the effects that pregnancy can have on your oral health, and the effects that any medications you may be taking on the recommendation of your dentist may have on your pregnancy, your dentist needs to know so that they can advise you on your oral care and medications accordingly. Dental experts recommend visiting your dentist right before your pregnancy, and again in your second trimester for your oral health checkups, but to hold off on any major procedures or surgeries till after the baby is born.
Keep up a healthy, regular dental hygiene routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. If you have any questions or concerns about how to care for your oral health while pregnant, please call Dr. Bruce Silva.