Due to the hormonal changes and increased demands on the body a woman experiences during pregnancy, women often encounter more dental issues in 9 months of gestation than they may have in their whole life! Oral health concerns can be avoided, however, with extra care at home and professional help from a dentist.
Here are common issues mothers may encounter during pregnancy and what can be done to avoid them:
- Gum disease: By brushing and flossing regularly, mothers can avoid problems with their gums that hormonal changes associated with pregnancy cause. Pregnancy Epulis, Gingivitis, and Periodontal disease occur frequently in women during pregnancy and can potentially cause problems with the birth of the baby. Talk to your dentist if you experience puffy, sore, or bleeding gums as these inflammatory bacteria can get into bloodstream through gums and travel to the uterine wall, potentially leading to contractions and possible premature birth.
- Enamel deterioration: Especially for women who experience morning sickness and vomiting, enamel erosion can be a serious concern during pregnancy. The acidity of vomit can erode the hard shell of teeth away, which unfortunately can not be replaced or regrown. How do you avoid this? After vomiting, wait an hour to brush your teeth. Although it seems counter-intuiitive, your toothbrush can add extra damage to enamel with the bristles and motion while acid sits on the teeth. Rinsing your mouth with water and allowing time for the acid to disappear will help preserve your teeth.
- Increased sugar intake, increased cavities: If you find yourself craving more sugary foods during pregnancy, do your best to rinse your mouth, brush and floss soon after eating these sweet foods. Icecream, cake, bread, candy, soda, and other high-in-sugar foods can cause major damage over the course of your preganancy if you are not in the habit of brushing soon enough after eating to prevent permanent damage.
- Increased plaque: The surge in estrogen and progesterone can exaggerate the effects of plaque on your gums. For these reasons, it’s important to keep your dental appointments! The optimal time frame for your check up is in your second trimester. Increased plaque build up can lead to a wide variety of oral and systemic health concerns.
If you have any other questions or concerns about how to prevent decay or gum disease during or after pregnancy, please consult your dentist.
Your oral health is important no matter what stage of life you may find yourself in. Pregnant women may have an increased risk for these oral health issues, but no one is completely safe without regular cleanings and proper home care when it comes to oral hygiene. If you are concerned about your teeth and/or are pregnant, please call any Platinum Dental Care location near you.
Dr. Rhet Scherschligt is a great family dentist in Salt Lake City. His practice is conveniently located on Highland Drive next to Glaus French Pastry Shop and Big O Tires. Give his office a call at (801) 484-1032 to schedule your next appointment.