Did you know that pregnancy can often cause other harmful dental issues to occur? It may not seem possible, as a woman’s reproductive system and the mouth are two completely different parts of the body; however, hormonal changes and additional factors tend to create a perfect environment for tooth decay, gum disease, and other common dental problems. Here are 3 potential issues that may arise while you are pregnant and how seeing your dentist regularly can help you avoid more complex treatment in the long run.
The Effects of Pregnancy on Your Oral Health
Expecting a baby can be an exciting time in a woman’s life. While you may be busy decorating the nursery and stocking up on diapers, are you taking time to care for your oral health? If this question seems unrelated, it’s not. Self-care is extremely important while pregnant, and part of this is making sure your teeth and gums remain free of decay and disease.
Unfortunately, for most women who are expecting, changes throughout the body can lead to serious oral health issues. By not being mindful or careful to take care of your smile, you can experience the following:
- Gum Disease: If you notice that your gums appear red or swollen, or they bleed when brushing and flossing, you are in the early stages of gum disease. Also known as gingivitis, this is usually brought on by the hormonal changes occurring throughout your body. When caught early, you and your dentist can work to reverse the symptoms. However, when left untreated, you can be faced with more serious problems that can lead to bone and tooth loss as well as serious health-related conditions (i.e., diabetes, neurological disorders, poor gut health, heart disease, etc.).
- Tooth Decay: Consuming too many sugars and starches can cause tooth decay to develop and eventually, cavities. During pregnancy, your risk for these dental issues is already heightened, especially if you suffer from morning sickness, as the acid in your mouth will eat away at the the enamel, causing it to become vulnerable to bad bacteria. But even if your diet isn’t the problem, a lack of good oral hygiene can still cause cavities to form. Whether you are putting off brushing, flossing, and rinsing because you feel ill, have a sensitive gag reflex, or are simply too tired, you could be looking at timely and costly treatment in the future.
- Loose Teeth: As your baby develops, it may begin to pull vital nutrients from your body, causing changes to your jawbone. As a result, your teeth may look and feel a bit loose.
Why Seeing Your Dentist is Important
Throughout your pregnancy, it is important that you continue to see your dentist regularly for dental checkups and cleanings. While there may be aspects of your normal care that cannot be completed during various stages (i.e., dental x-rays), a professional can still monitor any problems that might be developing inside your oral cavity and recommend treatment or at-home tips you can use to combat and reverse symptoms.
If you want to better protect yourself and your baby, make sure you’re taking proper care of your oral health throughout your pregnancy. Should you suspect a problem occurring, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for help.
About the Author
Dr. Brandon White pursued a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the Medical College of Virginia. He and Dr. Julia White are a husband-and-wife team who offer top-notch dental care to residents in Goode and its surrounding communities. From children to adults, they can take care of all your family’s dental needs, ensuring a comfortable and positive experience every time. If you’re looking for a dentist who can provide exceptional care and helpful tips during your pregnancy, visit our website or call (540) 587-5707.