Pregnancy and Oral Health

Pregnancy and Oral Health

Pregnancy causes many hormonal changes for women not only in their bodies but their mouth as well. It is extremely important to ensure proper oral care during this time. This will help prevent gingivitis and ultimately, gum disease. There are many things to keep in mind about your oral health while expecting.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

While gingivitis is common for most people, the increase in hormone levels may make you more prone to it. This will include:

  • sore gums
  • bleeding gums, or
  • a higher level of plaque or tartar buildup

The Canadian Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Sticking to this regime during pregnancy is extremely important. In some cases, it may be required to brush or floss even more than the recommended amount. Your hygienist may also suggest more frequent cleanings until the baby is born. The downside of leaving your gums untreated is that once the baby is born, cleanings may become more sensitive until all the buildup has been removed. If you are concerned about your gums or that you may have gingivitis, contact your dentist for a consult.

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Acid Erosion

Morning sickness can be an unfortunate side effect of pregnancy. The acid from your stomach can cause the teeth to erode which makes them weaker and more susceptible to cavities. Those who may have gastric issues after pregnancy, such as acid reflux, are also prone to erosion. While you may want to brush your teeth right after an episode of morning sickness, it is best to rinse with water and wait for about 30 minutes. This will help to lower the acidity in the mouth and will reduce the risk of damaging weakened enamel once you brush.

Pregnancy Tumors

Pregnancy tumours are also very common, although they are nothing to be afraid of as they are not malignant. A pregnancy tumour is an overgrowth of tissue. Other determining factors include:

  • a raspberry-like appearance
  • usually found in between two teeth
  • happens during your second trimester
  • tend to bleed very easily
  • sore to the touch

This is caused by high amounts of plaque and hormonal changes. Usually, the tumours will go away once the baby is born, but if it is causing you discomfort, your dentist may be able to remove it for you.

Increase in Cavities

An increase in cavities is related to the higher amounts of plaque. Cravings such as sugary snacks or drinks, or starchy snacks are very common in pregnancy. If the sugars or plaque are left on the teeth, it will start to demineralize the enamel. Oral hygiene comes into play at this point as manually removing the plaque and sugars from your teeth will make it less likely to cause harm. Brushing and flossing, especially before bed, can prevent decay from starting and from having to go through more dental procedures during pregnancy.

Seeing your dentist throughout your pregnancy is a great idea, especially when it comes to cavities. They can let you know if a cavity is starting and this can help prevent it from becoming a long procedure in the future.

If you have any concerns or questions, contact your dentist today for more ways to keep your mouth healthy during pregnancy.

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