There’s a lot of concerns that cross a newly pregnant woman’s mind. Is the nursery ready? What’s their name going to be? Are they going to be healthy? Will I ever achieve my pre-pregnancy weight? One concern that isn’t often considered is the health of the mother’s teeth. During pregnancy, the body is put through a unique series of stressors that can have a detrimental effect on the mother’s smile. Among them is morning sickness, which can bathe the teeth in stomach acid and soften the enamel, making their teeth subject to cavities. Taking steps to protect your teeth while pregnant can make sure your smile is looking great on baby’s first day.
The Impact of Pregnancy on The Mother’s Oral Health
Gestational gingivitis is a condition experienced by women during pregnancy resulting from the changes they’re undergoing. Hormonal changes boost blood flow, causing the gums to become swollen as if inflamed and susceptible to bleeding when being brushed. This is just the initial concern in a number of risks the pregnant mother may experience. Others include:
- Enamel Damage: The most common threat to a woman’s dental health during pregnancy is weakened enamel. This typically results from the increased acidity caused by nausea and vomiting that typically occur as part of morning sickness. Acid can soften enamel, which presents a greater risk of dental damage and sensitivity.
- Cavities: After the enamel has become softened, the chances of the mother developing a cavity increase significantly. Strict dental hygiene and a diet focused on dental health can help counteract weak enamel and help prevent cavities.
- Loss of Teeth: Pregnant women are also more susceptible to losing teeth as a result of oral changes taking place during gestation.
The Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research revealed oral health concerns as a present and serious concern of women who are pregnant. The changes experienced during this time can have serious implications for the health of both mother and infant. Women who have serious periodontitis have been shown to be at greater risk of pre-eclampsia and premature births. The infection from serious gum disease can spread into the bloodstream, endangering both patients.
How You Can Protect Your Teeth While Pregnant
A dental hygiene routine that includes consistent brushing, mouthwash, and flossing twice a day can go a long way towards protecting your teeth. By making this a regular part of your daily practice, you significantly reduce your risk of developing gingivitis and experiencing additional complications while pregnant. During your pregnancy, your dentist will avoid doing dental imaging, though the minimal radiation required presents no risk to you or your baby. In the event that imaging is necessary, a special bib will be provided that covers your stomach and throat to completely eliminate any potential risk of complications.