Pregnancy affects nearly every part of your body, and your dental health is no exception.
Pregnancy affects nearly every part of your body, including your mouth and teeth. For expecting mothers, oral health concerns might take a backseat to more common symptoms of pregnancy. But, even though going to the dentist probably isn’t a top priority when you’re expecting, pregnancy can have a major impact on your oral health. Any pregnant woman should make sure to keep a healthy oral care routine and make at least one trip to the dentist during pregnancy.
So, how is your oral health affected by pregnancy?
The truth about pregnancy gingivitis
Gingivitis is a common gum infection that occurs when bacteria-filled plaque builds up on the surface of your teeth. Plaque buildup is harmful to your teeth for a number of reasons. It can cause cavities, tooth decay, and bone damage if left untreated. It can also irritate your gums, leading to swelling, sensitivity, and gingivitis.
According to the American Dental Association, pregnant women experience higher-than-average rates of gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is caused by a variety of factors. When you get pregnant, an increase in hormones like estrogen and progesterone can lead to sensitive, swollen gums. Increased risk of gingivitis during pregnancy is compounded by your diet during pregnancy, which is often less healthy and more sugary than usual.
Gingivitis makes your gums highly sensitive, which can make it painful to brush your teeth. However, if you avoid brushing your teeth, your gingivitis will get worse. Because of this, gingivitis can quickly spiral into greater severity when left untreated.
Does gingivitis affect other parts of your body?
Aside from pain in your mouth and gums, some doctors suspect pregnancy gingivitis could lead to bigger health problems for you and your baby. There is a connection between gingivitis and premature birth, although doctors are still uncertain whether this relationship is causal. It is quite possible that there is a third factor, like smoking, that increases your chances of both gingivitis and premature delivery. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Find treatment for pregnancy gingivitis
It’s important for expecting mothers to understand the high risk of gum infection during pregnancy and to take precautions to protect their oral health. The best way to prevent pregnancy gingivitis is to practice good oral hygiene. Make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss at least once daily.
In addition to maintaining good oral hygiene, you should visit your dentist at least once while pregnant. Your dentist can remove any existing plaque with a professional teeth cleaning and treat gingivitis if it has already begun to occur. When you visit your dentist during pregnancy, always let them know you’re pregnant.
If you suspect you might be experiencing tooth decay or other oral health issues during pregnancy, you may also benefit from a dental x-ray. Discuss your symptoms with your dentist, and ask whether a dental x-ray would be appropriate. Dental x-rays do not pose any risk to your baby, and they can help to identify tooth decay or damage.
If you’re pregnant, make sure your mouth is healthy and safe. For patient-centered dental care in the Denver metro, contact us at Espire today. Don’t let pregnancy gingivitis give you one more thing to worry about.