Can Pregnancy Affect Your Teeth?
Pregnancy is a time of great joy and excitement for expectant mothers. As you prepare for the arrival of your little one, you may have many questions about how your body will change during this time. One area of concern for many women is their dental health. It’s common for women to wonder if pregnancy can affect their teeth, and if so, how.
In this blog, the team at The Point Dental will explore how pregnancy can impact oral health and provide tips on keeping your teeth and gums healthy throughout pregnancy.
Common Dental Issues During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes several hormonal changes that can impact her oral health. These changes can lead to various dental issues that require pregnancy care, including:
Gingivitis, an early-stage gum disease, commonly occurs in pregnant women. If left untreated, it can progress to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontal disease. The symptoms of gingivitis are easy to recognise and include:
- Bleeding from the gums when brushing
- Sensitivity of the gums
- Redness of the gums
- Swelling of the gums
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of bacteria, and the high levels of progesterone in your body while pregnant make it difficult for your body to fight off these bacteria. If you don’t acquire dental treatment when necessary, gingivitis can severely weaken your gums, leading to severe gum disease and even tooth loss in more serious cases.
Pregnant women may be more prone to tooth decay due to changes in eating habits and cravings, such as increased sugar consumption. It’s best to avoid overly sugary foods as your teeth are already quite sensitive during pregnancy. However, if sweetness is the only thing that satisfies your cravings, opt for something healthier, like fresh fruit, instead.
Similarly, morning sickness and vomiting can expose the teeth to stomach acid, leading to enamel erosion, tooth decay and further dental health problems. Pregnancy hormones tend to soften the ring of muscle that keeps food inside the stomach, making it more common for women to vomit when pregnant. However, this can cover your teeth with strong stomach acids and damage the surface of your teeth.
Pregnancy tumours sound more serious than they are. Pregnancy tumours are benign – not cancerous, and appear on a pregnant woman’s gums. Usually, they are raised tumours that are noticeable on the gums and between 0.5-2.5cm in size. While some women find them painful or uncomfortable, others don’t notice any pain at all.
Can Poor Oral Health Affect the Baby?
Studies have found links between periodontal disease in pregnant women and premature deliveries with low birth weights. In fact, approximately 18% of low-weight, premature births are a result of gum disease and dental problems during pregnancy.
Therefore, it’s essential to visit a dental professional when pregnant to check your oral health and ensure you have a healthy pregnancy that protects the baby’s health.
How to Protect Teeth During Pregnancy
Dental Care Before Pregnancy
The best way to ensure your teeth remain pristine while pregnant is to look after them before you’re pregnant. Follow a regular oral care routine, for instance:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss between your teeth once a day.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit food and drinks high in sugar.
- Visit your dentist every 6 to 12 months.
If you’re planning for a baby, see your dentist to discuss any dental treatments that can be performed before your pregnancy. If one is required during pregnancy, non-urgent procedures can often be performed after the first trimester. Read our blog on preventive dentistry for more information on how prevention is the best way of managing oral health, even through pregnancy.
Increase Calcium & Vitamin D
Changing your diet to incorporate more calcium and vitamin D will strengthen your bones and teeth during pregnancy. Try eating the following:
- Milk, cheese, plain yogurt
- Nuts, such as almonds
- Bread and cereal
If you’re not getting enough calcium or vitamin D from your diet, you can take supplements – ask your doctor or obstetrician if you need to take a vitamin D supplement.
It is perfectly safe and smart for pregnant women to visit their dentists to receive dental cleaning services. Due to the high chance of gingivitis and tooth decay for pregnant women, a dental cleaning session can remove the build-up of plaque and bacteria.
Dental cleaning can be performed at any time during the pregnancy, although the second trimester is usually considered the safest time to do so.
Can pregnancy cause sensitive teeth?
You may be wondering when teeth sensitivity starts in pregnancy. The truth is, as your hormones start to change and the estrogen and progesterone levels start to rise, it will likely affect the strength of your tooth enamel. This causes sensitive teeth that will make it difficult to consume various foods. Usually, the sensitivity will get better after birth, but you can visit your dentist if the issue is ongoing.
Can you lose your teeth during pregnancy?
While pregnancy itself does not cause tooth loss or ruin your teeth, it can contribute to dental problems that, if left untreated, can ultimately result in tooth loss. For example, hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase the risk of gum disease, a leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
If you are experiencing dental problems during pregnancy, it is important to talk to your dentist or healthcare provider to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. With proper dental care, most dental problems during pregnancy can be managed and treated to prevent tooth loss.
Get Reliable Dental Care While Pregnant
At The Point Dental, we offer reliable dental services when you’re pregnant. Get in touch with our team of professionals today for more information on general dentistry and keeping your oral health in top condition during pregnancy.