Oral Health, Dental Care, and Pregnancy

Pregnancy causes a considerable number of changes in a woman’s body. Almost every part of the body is affected in some way. The mouth and the teeth are no exception. Oral and dental health can be made more complicated by pregnancy.

How Pregnancy Affects the Mouth

During pregnancy, the body’s production of hormones undergoes major changes. The levels of hormones such as progesterone and estrogen increase significantly. High levels of these two hormones loosens the connection between bones and teeth and also directs more blood to the gums; so, during pregnancy, a woman is at high risk of needing to see a Boston periodontist to help fight gum disease.

The Risks

Risk for some dental and oral health problems increases during pregnancy. The increase in progesterone and estrogen can result in loose teeth. The increase in blood flow to the gums can make gums more sensitive, resulting in gingivitis, a condition in which the gums are inflamed. In time, gingivitis can develop into full-blown gum disease.

Vomiting due to morning sickness can cause damage to the teeth by exposing them to stomach acid. Stomach acid plays an important role in digestion but is harmful to oral health. Stomach acid can wear down the outer enamel, increasing the risk for cavities and tooth erosion.

The oral health problem made more common in pregnancy can also cause pregnancy health problems themselves. Gum disease has been connected to a higher risk for premature birth. Premature birth causes health problems for babies at both the time of birth and further on in development.

When To Make an Appointment

A pregnant woman should see a dentist if she detects signs of a serious oral health problem. Toothache, loose teeth, bad breath, sores in the mouth, inflamed and irritated gums, a receding gum line, gum bleeding, and new gaps between the teeth are some of the worrying signs that should precipitate a visit to the dentist’s office.

Prevention

Preventing a health problem before it ever occurs is always the ideal. For oral health issues related to pregnancy, the key to prevention is to follow the basics of proper oral health. That means brushing and flossing the teeth twice a day, attending regular dental checkups, and limiting consumption of foods that damage the teeth (such as sugary foods).

If you are pregnant, please come in for a check-up. We like to say that a healthy mouth makes for a healthy body, and your case, a healthy baby! Schedule an appointment today.