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The Relationship Between Your Teeth and Pregnancy

Pregnant women getting dental treatment
Pregnant women getting dental treatment

Pregnancy is a beautiful and life-changing time in a woman’s life. It’s full of excitement and joy. But it also comes with its own set of challenges and adjustments, especially when it comes to health. One often overlooked area is oral health. The hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect your teeth and gums big time if not appropriately managed. This guide is for pregnant women to help them keep their teeth and gums healthy throughout their pregnancy journey.

The relationship between pregnancy and oral health is complex and vital.

Hormonal changes, especially the surge in progesterone and estrogen levels, can affect the gums and teeth, making them more prone to pregnancy gingivitis and periodontal disease. If not managed properly, these changes can lead to tender gums that bleed easily, gum swelling and even more severe gum disease.

Gingivitis is a common condition that affects many pregnant women, usually starting in the first trimester. Symptoms are red, swollen and bleeding gums. If left untreated, it can progress to periodontal disease, which not only affects your oral health but can also affect your pregnancy, such as low birth weight and preterm birth.

Oral Health Issues During Pregnancy

Pregnancy Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a common condition caused by hormonal changes that increase blood flow to the gum tissues, making them more sensitive and prone to irritation. Symptoms are swollen gums, tenderness, and bleeding during brushing or flossing. To manage this, you must maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily. Regular dental check-ups are also crucial for monitoring and managing the condition.

Periodontal Disease

Pregnant women are more prone to periodontal disease due to hormonal changes that make the gums more susceptible to plaque-induced inflammation. Periodontal disease can lead to serious fitness problems if not managed, tooth loss and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Symptoms are persistent bad breath, loose teeth and receding gums. Preventive measures are regular dental visits, good oral hygiene, and avoiding tobacco products.

Tooth Decay and Tooth Loss

Tooth decay and loss are more common during pregnancy due to dietary changes, morning sickness, and increased mouth acidity. Consuming sugary snacks and drinks can worsen this risk. To prevent tooth erosion, limit sugary foods, rinse your mouth with plain water after meals, and use fluoride toothpaste. A balanced diet of fresh fruits, dairy products, and plain yoghurt can help maintain dental upkeep.

Oral Health and Pregnancy Outcomes

Women with a happy smile - after dental treatment

Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes

Poor oral health has been linked to several adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as low birth weight, preterm birth and premature delivery. Infections and inflammation in the gums can spread to other parts of the body and cause complications. Studies by reputable organisations from over the pond, like the American Dental Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, emphasise the importance of good oral health to reduce these risks. (Read here)

Pregnancy Tumors

Pregnancy tumours or pyogenic granulomas are non-cancerous growths that can develop on the gums during pregnancy. These tumours are usually benign and will disappear after childbirth. But they can cause discomfort and bleeding. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits can help manage these growths.

Dental Care Tips for Pregnant Women

Routine Dental Care

Good dental care is essential during pregnancy. Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque and prevent gum disease. Regular dental visits are necessary to monitor oral health and manage issues.

Diet and Nutrition

A balanced diet plays a significant role in oral health during pregnancy. Eating a variety of nutritious food can strengthen your teeth and gums. Choose healthy snacks like fresh fruits, plain yoghurt, and dairy products that are rich in nutrients for you and your baby’s developing teeth. Avoid sugary foods and snacks as they can worsen tooth decay.

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness can expose your teeth to stomach acids, which can erode the enamel and cause tooth decay. To manage this, rinse your mouth with baking soda and water to neutralise the acids. Do not brush your teeth immediately after vomiting, as this can further damage the enamel.

Dental Visits and Treatments at Direct Dental Wandsworth

Regular dental visits at Direct Dental Wandsworth are crucial during pregnancy. Be sure to inform your dentist at Direct Dental about your pregnancy so they can provide the appropriate care. Dental treatments, such as hygiene appointments and necessary procedures, are generally safe during pregnancy, especially in the second trimester. Local anaesthetics and very low-dose dental X-rays used at Direct Dental are also considered safe. However, it’s best to postpone elective procedures until after delivery.

Postpartum Dental Care

Postpartum Oral Health

Good oral hygiene practices after a baby arrives are important for oral health. Caring for a newborn can be challenging, but brush and floss regularly and visit your dentist for routine check-ups. A healthy mouth means you can take better care of yourself and your baby.

Oral health is part of overall health, especially during pregnancy.

Women smiling after dental treatment

The hormonal changes can make your teeth and gums more prone to pregnancy gingivitis, periodontal disease and tooth decay. A good dental care routine, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will ensure good oral health throughout pregnancy. This is good for you and your baby.

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