Pregnancy is an exciting time for any woman. However, pregnancy does have some side effects that can affect your oral health. During pregnancy, women experience changes to their bodies, such as weight gain and hormone changes. Hormones are chemical messengers in the body that regulate various functions, including reproduction and metabolism. During pregnancy, the levels of these hormones change, which leads to an increased risk of gum disease.
Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on the teeth after eating foods containing starch and sugars. If plaque is not removed, it can harden and become calculus or tartar. As pregnancy progresses, the additional hormone levels lead to an increase in the acidity in the mouth. This increase in acidity makes it difficult for moms-to-be to remove plaque from their teeth. As a result, the risk for decay increases during pregnancy.
In addition to an increase in cavity risk, pregnant women also have a higher chance of experiencing gingivitis. This is a more serious form of gum inflammation known as periodontal disease. It can cause gum tissue to detach from the teeth and expose sensitive tooth roots. Without prompt dental care, this can lead to tooth loss. This is why it's so important for all pregnant mothers to receive regular cleanings and exams from their dentist.
Pregnant women often experience hormone fluctuations that can change the appearance of their gums and teeth. In fact, about half of all pregnant women will experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis, which can cause inflammation of the gum tissues and lead to bleeding during brushing and flossing. High levels of progesterone can also affect the tissues that support your teeth and make them more prone to damage during this critical time.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your smile during pregnancy, such as maintaining a regular schedule of oral hygiene visits with your dentist for checkups and cleanings. These visits are especially important for spotting issues early and taking care of them before they become more serious problems. Your dentist may also recommend more frequent cleanings and rinse with a prescription toothpaste that can help control harmful bacteria and reduce plaque buildup. This can help you maintain a healthier smile and excellent gum health throughout your pregnancy.
Some women also experience dry mouth as a result of hormonal changes that can occur during the first trimester of pregnancy. While excessive dryness is often temporary, it can lead to increased feelings of discomfort or pain that could affect your oral health. A dry mouth can also lead to tooth decay and other common dental health concerns when left untreated. If you experience dry mouth during your pregnancy, be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid sugary beverages and foods to keep your mouth healthy and hydrated.
If you haven't since your dentist recently, or if you wish to learn more about our dental services, call us at (832) 532-7120 and schedule an appointment with us.