Oral Health is a key part of our overall health, it includes our teeth and our gums. During pregnancy, it is important to keep a proper oral hygiene and make regular appointments with the dentist.
Recent studies are now linking the gum disease, periodontitis, with premature birth and lower than normal birth weight. Taking an excellent care of your gums and teeth during and after pregnancy is extremely important not only to your health but also, your newborn.
Pregnancy affects the Dental Health
During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through several changes from physical to hormonal both of whom has a direct effect on the gums and teeth. During gestation, there is an increase in blood flow, hormone levels and more importantly, there are more acids in your mouth. In case you forgot your high school biology, Hormones are chemicals produced naturally by the body.
Because of all those changes happening, it comes as no surprise that you will have issues directly affecting your dental health, even more so now than before you got pregnant. These problems can be:
- Gingivitis: Symptoms of this disease are red, swollen, and sore gums. The gums have a tendency to bleed while you are brushing your teeth. During pregnancy, you experienced a peak in the production of the progesterone hormone which causes Gingivitis. If this disease goes untreated by a professional dentist it will become a much worse condition called Periodontitis.
- Loose Teeth: During pregnancy, the production of the hormones Estrogen and Progesterone increases, thus affecting the tissues and the bones in your body especially those keeping your teeth in place. Causing the teeth to loosen up.
- Periodontitis: This is probably one of the worst gum diseases and you would want to avoid it at all cost. This condition develops from an untreated Gingivitis, the gums are infected and swollen also affecting the bone which keeps your teeth in place, resulting in loose teeth and even tooth loss.
- Pregnancy Tumors: Right off the bat we have to say that these tumors have nothing to do with cancer. They are just lumps formed on the swollen gums. They normally developed in between teeth and causes bleeding. A direct consequence of high concentrations of plaque. These pregnancy tumors would normally go away on their own, however, in some cases, they will need to be removed via surgery after giving birth.
- Tooth Decay: This is a consequence of the increase of acids levels in your mouth due to pregnancy hormones. They break down the teeth enamel, which is the hard outer layer of your tooth. The levels of acids in your mouth are higher than normal during gestation and it increases your chances of suffering from tooth decay. Morning sickness is the main factor of said acids, make sure that after throwing up you brush your teeth and clean your mouth.
- Tooth Loss: Any of the above conditions and diseases leads to one outcome, they result in losing your precious teeth. Whether they fell off naturally or have to be removed by your dentist.
Signs and Symptoms of Dental Health Issues during Pregnancy:
- Bad Breath
- Bleeding/Hurting Gums.
- Loose Teeth.
- Lumps in your Mouth.
- Red Gums.
- Swollen Gums.
- Toothache and other acute pains.
If you are pregnant and suffering from any of these symptoms you may want to contact your Dentist immediately.
Diagnosing Dental Health Issues during Pregnancy
You may notice some problems with your teeth and gums on your own, or maybe your dentist will during a regular checkup, which is why it is very important that during pregnancy you keep your dental appointments and get regular checkups to prevent and avoid any dental issues. If you haven’t been to the dentist in awhile, you may want to reconsider that, it is important that you go during the early stages of pregnancy and ask him for any medication you can take.
We can’t stress enough the importance of having regular dental checkups during gestation, this is the only way your doctor can detect any problems and fix it before it makes things worse for you. You may also want to get regular teeth cleaning to avoid tooth decay and gingivitis. You don’t have to worry, your Dentist is more than capable of fixing any dental issues during pregnancy without causing any complications.
If you’re pregnant and have questions about dental care of the pregnant patient or dental treatment during your pregnancy your dentist in Chapel Hill can help. Contact us for more information at (919) 595-1010.