Pregnancy and dental care | Oral health changes during pregnancy

Pregnant moms have a lot to keep up with. Between extra doctor visits and preparing for a new family member, oral health care can fall by the wayside. But oral health during pregnancy should still be a priority.

Pregnancy can impact oral health, so it’s important to go for regularly scheduled appointments and let your dentist know of any changes in your life. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your baby. Some oral health conditions can even impact the baby’s risk of cavities in the future!

Here are 3 of the most common dental health problems during pregnancy:

Pregnancy gingivitis

Hormones changes during pregnancy can cause changes in your oral health. If you experience sensitive or bleeding, swollen gums during pregnancy, you could be experiencing what’s called, “pregnancy gingivitis.”

Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease – or periodontal disease – that causes inflammation of the gums and bone that support your teeth.  If left untreated it can lead to tooth loss. If you’ve had gingivitis before, you’re more likely to get it again while pregnant.

Tooth decay

Somechanges in the body during pregnancy can increase your risk of cavities.

If your cravings are for carbohydrates or sweets, those snacks will lead to tooth decay faster than healthier options like fruits and veggies.

If you get morning sickness, your mouth is getting exposed to more acid than normal, which can erode tooth enamel. But don’t brush your teeth right away after vomiting. It only scrubs your teeth with the acid. Rinse your mouth with water instead, and chew a piece of sugar-free gum for a better taste.

Pregnancy can also affect salivation in some women.  A decreased flow of saliva can cause dry mouth, and saliva is important for good oral health. A lack of saliva prevents food particles and bacteria from being washed away in the mouth, which is why having a dry mouth over time causes tooth decay.

And it’s not just mom who may be at higher risk of cavities. Studies of women with periodontitis, or severe gum inflammation, while pregnant found that it’s linked to higher levels of the type of bacteria in the mouth that can passed to the baby and lead to cavities for the baby too.

Oral lesions

One oral health change some pregnant women experience is scarier for the mom than it is dangerous. Tissue growths in the gums can happen, often during the second trimester.

Often called pregnancy tumors, they are not a form of cancer. It’s a side-effect of swollen gums and can be related to excess plaque. They usually disappear once the baby is born.

Even though your body – including your mouth – goes through changes during pregnancy, the best way to keep up your oral health is the same as every day.  Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss regularly, and visit the dentist.

Be sure to tell your dentist about your pregnancy and talk to them about any concerns or changes in your mouth.