Brushing Teeth While Pregnant: Good But Not Enough!
by Donna Pleis Hormone levels fluctuate significantly during pregnancy. Do you know that hormone extremes during pregnancy can put you at risk for many serious dental problems? Brushing teeth while pregnant can help, but you'll need to do more to prevent these potential complications. Don't be surprised when both your dentist and your obstetrician ask you to step up your oral health game during pregnancy. Now is a good time to learn what the pregnancy-related problems are and how to prevent them.
Pregnancy Gingivitis and Periodontitis
You may find that these hormonal changes cause your gums to swell and bleed more easily than before. The American Dental Association (ADA) refers to this as pregnancy gingivitis, and it could be a sign that you need to brush and floss more thoroughly. You should take care of gingivitis as early as possible. If it is left untreated, you could end up with a much more serious condition called periodontitis, which can result in significant bone and tissue loss around your teeth.
This may seem surprising, but even if you do not develop pregnancy gingivitis or periodontitis, hormones can affect the ligaments and bone that hold your teeth in their socket. When this happens, your teeth can become loose. You should immediately alert your dentist if your teeth show any sign of movement. Your dentist will recommend that you seek a consultation with a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in treatment of the gum tissue and supporting bone. Dental Decay and Tooth Erosion
You may think that your cavity-prone years are behind you. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), however, pregnancy increases the acidity level in your mouth, which causes you to be more vulnerable to tooth decay. Many women know that pregnancy cravings can lead to some not-so-healthy, often sugary, eating binges. Unhealthy eating combined with a slip in your home care routine can also lead to tooth decay. More bad news: Your teeth are also at risk of enamel erosion if you are vomiting from morning sickness or are experiencing gastric reflux.
It is rare, but a tumor-like swelling can sometimes develop on a localized area of your gum tissue. This is caused by an exaggerated response to the plaque on your teeth. According to the Contemporary Clinical Dentistry Journal, these pregnancy tumors can appear during your second or third trimester and usually go away after the pregnancy has occurred.