When you’re pregnant, there’s a lot to think about. Between deciding what colors to paint the baby’s room, making sure to take your prenatal vitamins, and trying your best to maintain a diet that will keep the baby as healthy as possible, it can be easy to forget about maintaining good oral health. Read on to learn how pregnancy can impact your oral health and some tips to help you keep your mouth in good condition.
Neglecting Oral Health Routines
When you’re pregnant, hormonal changes play a big part in why you feel more tired than usual. The physical and emotional changes that pregnant people go through also lower their energy levels and make them feel fatigued. This excess tiredness often leads to expectant mothers neglecting their nightly oral hygiene. This can cause a build-up of plaque and bacteria, which may lead to tooth decay.
During pregnancy, the hormone progesterone increases. This can increase your susceptibility to bacterial plaque, which can lead to pregnancy gingivitis. Symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis include gums that are red, puffy, and bleed easily. When left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis.
Weakened Tooth Enamel
Morning sickness is vomiting and nausea that happens during pregnancy. When stomach acid enters the mouth, this can weaken tooth enamel and put pregnant women at a greater risk for developing tooth decay. Additionally, since pregnant women snack more often, the level of acid in their mouth is constantly higher than usual, which can also eat away at the tooth enamel.
Health Risks to Baby
If pregnant people don’t take good care of their oral hygiene, this can lead to excessive bacteria growth in the mouth. These bacteria may enter the bloodstream through the gums if they’re unhealthy. If the bacteria travel to the uterus, this can cause the production of prostaglandins, which are believed to induce premature labor. Once the baby is born, the mom may also pass her bacteria to the newborn through vertical transmission, which can lead to a higher number of harmful bacteria in the baby.
How To Reduce Chances of Complications
Though several oral health complications can develop while pregnant, there are also many ways to combat them, including:
- Visit your dentist – Attend regular dental checkups and cleanings to keep your oral health in check. Additionally, make sure to tell your dentist that you’re pregnant and keep them informed about how far along you are and what medications you’re taking. This will allow them to take the necessary precautions and provide recommendations for your oral health.
- Keep up with your oral hygiene – Brush your teeth for two minutes twice per day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Floss at least once per day, preferably before bed, to remove food particles and plaque between your teeth.
- Eat well – Maintaining a healthy diet will also help keep your mouth healthy. Eat foods that contain plenty of calcium like cheese and yogurt. Cut back on the amount of sweet and acidic foods you consume to lessen your chances of developing cavities and tooth decay.
Being pregnant is exciting and hectic, but don’t let your oral health suffer. By taking good care of your teeth, you’ll be keeping your body in good condition and raising your chances of giving birth to a healthy, happy bundle of joy!
About the Practice
Drs. Scannell & Hollinger, Inc. offers exceptional oral health care to their East Longmeadow patients. Led by Dr. Steve Scannell and Dr. Keith Hollinger, their team of talented oral health professionals strives to make patients feel safe and well-cared for throughout treatment. If you’re expecting, they can offer oral health tips and take extra precautions to help you maintain a healthy mouth and have a successful pregnancy. If you have questions about oral health during pregnancy or want to set up an appointment, call their office at (413) 525-6821 or visit their website.