Hormone fluctuations during pregnancy can cause a lot of changes. While most people think of swollen feet and strange cravings as the most common pregnancy side effects, not as many realize that pregnancy can affect your dental health. Pregnant women are at a much higher risk for periodontal disease and cavities and can even pass those concerns on to their child. With extra awareness and special pregnancy dental habits, you can prioritize your oral health during pregnancy.
Common Dental Issues During Pregnancy
Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is critical, but many people actually receive less dental care during pregnancy. With all the other physical changes that happen on the road to birth, it might not seem like such a big deal to skip a dentist appointment or two. However, poor perinatal dental health can lead to problems such as dry mouth, loose teeth, low birth weight, and early delivery. Many of these problems are caused by changing hormones, which can impact the mouth’s natural state. While many of these conditions may resolve independently after birth, some can have more long-term effects.
Bleeding and swelling gums are very common during pregnancy. In fact, nearly 60 to 75 percent of pregnant women suffer from gingivitis. Aside from red, swollen gums that tend to bleed more easily, gingivitis also causes bad breath and gum recession. If left untreated, this condition can cause bone loss, eventually making teeth looser in the gums. Tooth loss may eventually occur without treatment.
One in four women of childbearing age have cavities, and pregnancy can increase that risk. Changing hormones can increase the risk of tooth decay, as can a change in eating habits brought on by pregnancy cravings. In addition, if you have an untreated cavity, your child may also be three times as likely to develop childhood cavities. In turn, those cavities can make children three times as likely to miss school.
Luckily, oral tumors caused by pregnancy are not a significant cause for concern. These lesions occur on the gums after the first trimester and usually resolve on their own after birth. However, if your tumors interfere with eating or begin to bleed, you should see a dentist as soon as possible.
Healthy Pregnancy Dental Habits
Scientists don’t fully understand the interconnected relationship between pregnancy and dental health, but building strong perinatal dental habits will benefit both you and your baby. Even the most diligent tooth brushing and flossing might not be enough to maintain good oral health during pregnancy. Aside from gentle brushing and flossing, getting a check-up with your dentist is one of the best ways to protect your teeth and gums.
A dentist can talk to you about your symptoms, monitor your dental health throughout your pregnancy, and recommend additional treatment if necessary. While maintaining oral health during pregnancy can be challenging, your dentist can help you and your baby stay healthy. If you’re looking for an excellent family dentistry practice in Albany, Oregon, Pinnacle Dental Associates is the best place to trust your growing family’s dental needs!