You’ll need to see the dentist at least once while you’re pregnant to stay on schedule for twice a year checkups. Due to the numerous changes happening in your body, tooth decay is an expected complication of pregnancy. There are other reasons like an accident with mouth trauma that might compel you to make an emergency visit to the dentist while you’re expecting and may require treatment that can’t be put off until after the birth of your baby. In these cases, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists considers dental treatment safe and necessary.
Common effects on your dental health
Swollen and tender gums are common complaints during pregnancy, as is minor bleeding when brushing and flossing your teeth. Acid levels in your mouth are naturally higher when you’re expecting, and nausea and dry mouth can cause faster than normal tooth decay. These conditions make taking care of your teeth and getting a checkup during pregnancy important.
Call your dentist if you can’t keep up your brushing and flossing routine while pregnant. Many women struggle to brush and floss because of a sensitive gag reflex. However, your dental health is tied directly to your overall health. Advanced dental disease is associated with premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.
Accident or trauma involving teeth
If you experience trauma-related damage to your teeth or mouth, see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist might recommend a low-radiation X-ray if there isn’t a valid alternative, but don’t be alarmed, dental X-ray imaging is extremely safe. Modern dental digital imaging tools and techniques emit 80% less radiation than older machines. Let your dentist know that you are pregnant and ask to use a leaded apron to minimize X-ray exposure.
Wisdom teeth complications
The final set of permanent teeth you get as an adult are wisdom teeth. Also known as third molars, they usually erupt in your early twenties and are often removed.
Dentists will also recommend extraction if they cause pain or infection. In some cases, the teeth only partially erupt and cause ongoing bite and jaw issues. They can become trapped in your jawbone or gums, known as impacted, resulting in pain, swelling, and infection.
Having your wisdom teeth extracted can be traumatic. It’s important to visit an experienced dentist like the wisdom teeth extraction dentists from Dentably so you can address it before damage occurs.
Pregnancy raises the acid level in your mouth
Pregnancy naturally raises the acid level in your mouth, which can erode the hard outer layer of your teeth. Morning sickness can also erode the enamel, especially on the back of your molars. If you suffer from severe morning sickness, avoid brushing right after you get sick. Brushing immediately spreads the acid from your back molars to the rest of your teeth. If you can tolerate it, rinse with a mixture of baking soda and water and then spit it out to lower pH levels before brushing.
Excess hormones can cause gingivitis
When the surge of hormones strikes, it can cause a pregnancy-related condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” which causes swollen, tender, inflamed gums. Maintaining a proper hygiene routine with sensitive gums can be hard. Call your dentist if your gums are acutely swollen or bleeding excessively. Dentists can treat this condition with more frequent cleanings and a gentle cleanser.
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is common during pregnancy
Pregnant women often experience dry mouth, also known as xerostomia. Without enough saliva, bacteria growth accelerates and decay advances rapidly. Drink small sips of water consistently throughout the day to combat this. You can also stimulate saliva production by sucking on sugarless hard candies or chewing sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol.
Growth on the gums
Almost 10% of pregnant women develop a growth on the gums in the second trimester. Known as a pregnancy granuloma, the growth on the upper gum line is made up of red nodules that bleed easily. Granulomas typically occur in women who also experience other dental issues during pregnancy but almost always disappear once the baby is born. If the appearance of a granuloma alarms you or keeps you from eating or talking, call your dentist for an appointment.
Pregnancy is hard on your teeth. The higher acid levels in your mouth and other common side effects of pregnancy can contribute to rapid tooth decay and other dental hygiene issues. It’s important to stay on schedule with your regular dental checkups to maintain your overall health.
Disclosure: collaborative post