Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is imperative for expecting mothers and their growing babies. Oral health problems like periodontal disease have been linked to preterm, low birth weight babies and other complications.
Drs. Ali and Shery Mansouri and the rest of our team at Serene Dental Center are committed to educating patients about how pregnancy can affect expectant mothers’ teeth and the teeth of their babies. Dr. Shery regularly offers complimentary informational talks about pregnancy and oral health. Here, we want to share an overview of why dental health is important during pregnancy.
How Pregnancy Hormones Affect the Teeth and Gums
The changes in a woman’s hormone levels during pregnancy increases the risk of some serious oral health issues.
Many expecting mothers develop gingivitis during pregnancy. The surge of hormones makes the gums more sensitive to plaque and causes redness, swelling, tenderness and bleeding.
Hormonal changes may also cause what are known as pregnancy tumors in the mouth. Although these growths are usually benign and disappear after the baby is born, they can be removed if they are uncomfortable or interfere with chewing or brushing.
Because of hormonal changes (and other factors), pregnant women are slightly more likely to develop cavities. Some women change their diets during pregnancy because they feel nauseated or sick, and the changes lead to tooth decay. Other women find that they are too fatigued to brush or floss their teeth and as a result, bacteria builds up.
Finally, hormones can cause morning sickness, and stomach acids are harsh on the teeth. Unless the acids are neutralized, they may lead to tooth erosion.
Prevent Oral Health Problems during Pregnancy
Our team recommends you do the following to prevent oral health problems during pregnancy:
- Brush at least twice a day and after each meal if possible
- Floss once a day
- If you are experiencing bad morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water or fluoride mouthwash after vomiting
- Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals
- Schedule an appointment for a dental check-up and cleaning with our team
- Ask our dentists or your obstetrician about taking specific vitamins for healthy teeth
It is also recommended that you postpone any elective dental treatment until after giving birth. Although most dental treatments won’t harm expectant mothers, we still recommend delaying optional treatment if you can.
Contact Serene Dental Center
If you are pregnant and experiencing any changes in your teeth or gums that you would like to discuss with our team, please call or email us today. We would also be happy to give you more tips about keeping your mouth healthy during pregnancy.