Pregnancy is a time of unusual changes to mum’s body, and her teeth are no exception. If you’re currently pregnant (or trying to be!) then you have a host of hormones to thank for all these changes. Here are three ways you can expect your dental health to change during your pregnancy along with some tips that will help you prepare for what to expect.
More Sensitive Gums
The first thing you may notice is your sensitive gums. Those surging hormones, estrogen and progesterone in particular, can make your gums react to the tiniest bit of plaque. They may become swollen, red, itchy, and bleed when touched with a toothbrush or floss.
It is very important to keep your teeth and gums clean at this time. The less plaque on your gums, the better. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush and floss gently around each tooth.
Ask your dentist for recommendations on gum care during pregnancy. Now is the time to pay special attention to your gum health as it may be the only time you’re able to do so for a while. You may very soon be distracted by someone else’s needs!
Loss of Tooth Enamel
Some mums suffer from a condition called “hyperemesis gravidarum” which is severe form of morning sickness that mimics symptoms similar to food poisoning.
The bad news for dental health is that repetitive vomiting is damaging to teeth. Being ill on a regular basis means that teeth are exposed to acids nearly every day which dissolve tooth enamel.
Enamel can’t be replaced. As it thins out, teeth progressively get weaker and more sensitive and prone to decay. This ties in with another change in mum’s mouth during pregnancy.
Increased Risk of Tooth Decay
As mentioned above, the loss of enamel speeds up the tooth decay rate. But even mums who don’t struggle with morning sickness may be at an increased risk for developing cavities.
Pregnancy tends to cause unusual cravings. Expectant women feel better after snacking on the foods they’ve been craving. After all, their bodies are working hard, and they deserve a treat!
Those cravings are rarely for a balanced diet rich in a variety of nutritious foods, however.
If you experience such pregnancy cravings, then you may find yourself reaching for sweets or processed carbohydrates. If you’re often nauseous, then your diet may primarily consist of biscuits and fizzy soft drinks or fruit juice, all of which promote tooth decay.
Even if your diet is balanced, you’re probably tempted to slack off on the oral hygiene. Expectant mums tend to have more important issues to worry about than brushing their teeth. But you’ll regret it if you neglect your dental health now! Brush and floss every day and use fluoridated products to keep your mouth strong.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene During Pregnancy
Research suggests that aggressive gum disease in pregnant mothers can increase the chances of delivering prematurely, so maintaining good gum health is a must. Keeping your teeth healthy can reduce stress on your body and baby.
Maintain a steady routine of good oral hygiene and visit your dentist for prenatal dental checkups for more information.