Oral health is a real concern when you’re pregnant, but many people are unaware of it. Even your doctor may not be fully aware of the special needs and risks involved. For instance, your gums may be more sensitive during pregnancy. You also may need more frequent dental visits and professional cleanings.
In this post, the providers at Dental Art of South Bay explain the most important things you should know about your oral health during pregnancy.
How pregnancy hormones affect your mouth
Pregnancy hormones change almost everything about your body, and your oral health is no exception. These hormonal changes can make your gums more sensitive.
For example, you may notice your gums bleed more easily. You also may react more strongly to the everyday bacteria in your mouth, which mixes with the particles of the food you eat (particularly starches and sugars) to form plaque. Plaque is a thin, sticky film that can develop on your teeth and cause cavities. Dental cleanings can help you get rid of it.
Plaque on your teeth can also lead to gingivitis and even periodontitis. Be sure to keep up with dental cleanings to prevent further damage to your teeth and gums.
Cautions about X-rays
Dental cleanings and exams usually include X-rays to help the dentist detect any problems with your teeth. However, when you’re pregnant, X-rays are riskier, so you should always tell the dentist if you are pregnant or even might be.
In most cases, the dentist will wait until your pregnancy is over. Sometimes, they may decide the benefits outweigh the risks. The amount of radiation you’re exposed to in dental exams is very small.
When you’re pregnant, your diet will likely change, which can take a toll on your oral health. For example, if you have morning sickness, you may not eat as much of a balanced diet. If your diet includes a lot of simple carbohydrates or sugars, you may be more susceptible to developing cavities or even gum disease.
Switching to fresh fruit is a good choice for your oral health and your overall health as well.
Caring for your teeth
Caring for your teeth during pregnancy is not just important for your health but also for your baby's health.
Periodontitis may lead to preterm birth and low birth weight. Also, if you have high levels of bacteria in your mouth, you can pass that bacteria to your baby, which can give them dental caries (cavities) later in life.
Caring for your teeth during pregnancy is essential to ensure that your baby turns out as healthy as possible.
Ask the dentist about your baby’s teeth
It’s never too early to start thinking about your baby’s future dental health. Talk about it with your dentist so you know when to bring your baby in for a visit of their own.
Also, avoid establishing bad habits that may be difficult to break later, such as pacifier use, thumb-sucking, or letting your child fall asleep with a bottle.
It’s important to get dental care all throughout your pregnancy. If you have any concerns, schedule an appointment today by calling the providers at Dental Art of South Bay.