Pregnancy and Your Dental Health

There are many issues to consider during pregnancy, and your oral health is one of them. Your mouth can be affected by hormonal changes, so it’s important to be aware of dental hazards and how to handle them.

Dental problems

There are certain oral health issues that women are more susceptible to experience during pregnancy. These include:

  • Pregnancy gingivitis – Gum inflammation, or gingivitis, can occur due to higher hormone levels in the body during pregnancy. Your gums may become swollen and red, and bleeding may occur. Pregnancy gingivitis symptoms usually disappear after giving birth.
  • Periodontal disease – Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a more serious condition that develops when an infection occurs under the gum line. It can increase your risk of tooth loss, and also may cause harmful effects for the baby due to a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight.
  • Dry mouth – Hormone changes during pregnancy cause many women to produce less saliva. A dry mouth increases the risk of various dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Tooth enamel erosion – Frequent vomiting that sometimes accompanies morning sickness can cause tooth enamel to erode.
  • Pregnancy granuloma – A red growth called a granuloma may appear along the upper gum line. It bleeds frequently, can affect speaking and eating, and causes discomfort. These growths are not dangerous and usually disappear after giving birth.

Oral care
Special attention should be given to dental care during pregnancy.  Brush and floss regularly, eat a healthy diet, use an antimicrobial mouthwash approved by your doctor, and maintain dental visits.

Consider seeing your dentist during the second trimester of pregnancy, when the baby is least at risk. Tell your dentist you are pregnant so that precautions can be taken to help guarantee your baby’s health. X-rays and medications will be considered. Avoid major procedures until after your baby is born if possible. Also, ask questions if you have concerns about any treatments so that you will feel confident you and your baby are safe.

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