It would be best if you didn’t ignore your oral health while pregnant. The hormonal changes during pregnancy make you more susceptible to periodontal disease and reveal or worsen dental issues.
Learning more about dental issues and pregnancy and the challenges they present is essential if you plan to get pregnant. And if you are already expecting, good oral hygiene is important for your and your baby’s health.
Dental Issues During Pregnancy
Sometimes, pregnancy is not all roses and butterflies. Some of the dental issues you may experience include:
Pregnancy gingivitis is a topic that comes up often when discussing dental issues and pregnancy. Hormonal changes make pregnant women more susceptible to gingivitis. It can increase blood flow to the gums, making them sensitive, irritable, and susceptible to bleeding. It also makes it easier for plaque to accumulate on your teeth and cause periodontal infections.
Pregnancy gingivitis is usually more severe in the second trimester. Don’t worry, though, as your gums will return to normal after giving birth, with a noticeable decrease in bleeding and sensitivity. Contact your dentist immediately if swelling or irritation persists after delivery.
Pregnant women are more at risk of developing cavities due to changing lifestyles, diets, and eating habits. The bacteria from these cavities can also reach the baby and lead to early childhood cavities that require a lot of care.
Gingivitis, a gum disease stage where the gums are infected, affects as many as 60% to 75% of pregnant women. Leaving it untreated can lead to the loss of bone support. A tooth without sufficient bone support becomes loose and requires extraction. It also leads to poor pregnancy outcomes, like preterm births or low birth weights.
Pregnancy epulis, also known as pyogenic granuloma, is another problem that can affect gums. It involves reddish, circular growths that easily bleed from the gums.
Another topic connected to dental issues and pregnancy is vomiting. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can weaken the muscles that keep food in the stomach, allowing stomach contents to come up. Vomiting and gastric reflux caused by the stomach’s acids can damage enamel and lead to tooth decay.
Gagging When Brushing Teeth
As we all know, brushing your teeth is important; otherwise, you can get cavities and other dental problems. However, pregnant women are prone to gagging, especially when brushing their teeth at the back of their mouth. It is another common topic when discussing dental issues and pregnancy.
Pregnancy Gum Disease Symptoms
Gingivitis is a common dental issue during pregnancy. It can progress into periodontitis, which results in tooth loss. Some of the symptoms to look out for include:
- Sensitive and loose teeth
- Pockets between the gums and the teeth.
- Bad breath
- Chewing pain or difficulties
- Bad alignment of teeth
- Red gums
Tips To Prevent Gum Disease During Pregnancy
Preventing gum disease during pregnancy ensures your overall health and a healthy baby. You can do this by:
Keeping up good oral hygiene.
Good oral hygiene is just a matter of keeping your mouth and teeth clean through regular brushing. Use fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily and gargle with mouthwash. They have antiseptic properties that kill plaque-causing bacteria.
Aside from brushing, flossing plays an important part in dental hygiene. It helps remove food particles between teeth that brushing can’t reach, reducing the number of plaque and bacteria. Learning to floss correctly is also essential as it can damage your gums and teeth if not done properly.
Observe any changes in your gums while pregnant. If you experience pain, bleeding, swelling, or discomfort in your gums, consult your dentist immediately.
Increasing vitamin D intake.
Vitamin D is vital for maintaining blood calcium and phosphorus levels. Vitamin D levels are affected by factors such as prenatal vitamin and milk consumption. It’s best to increase your vitamin D intake to ensure the health of your baby’s teeth. You can ask your doctor for supplements or, better yet, expose your skin to the morning sunlight, as it’s one of the best and natural ways to get vitamin D.
Increasing calcium intake.
You should increase your calcium intake during pregnancy to protect your baby’s bones and health. Aside from the usual dairy products, some excellent sources of calcium include tofu, almonds, leafy vegetables, oranges, salmon, chia seeds, soya products, and more.
Eating a healthy diet.
Spinach, broccoli, and other dark green leafy vegetables are natural sources of folate that helps to prevent spina bifida and other congenital abnormalities. These vegetables also have high water and fiber content, which also helps clean your teeth.
Gum Disease Treatments
You don’t have to worry about dental issues and pregnancy as you can still receive these necessary treatments from your dentist or periodontist:
Teeth Scaling and Root Planing
Teeth scaling and root planing are common treatments dentists offer for gum problems. They remove tartar from teeth above and below the gum line and smoothen any uneven spots, making it more difficult for bacteria, plaque, or tartar to accumulate on your tooth.
If the gum inflammation persists, your dentist may perform flap surgery to remove tartar between the teeth. They stitch the pockets in your gums caused by gum disease to reattach gum tissue to your teeth. Fewer or smaller pockets make it easier to floss and brush your teeth.
For severe cases of periodontitis, you may need bone or tissue implants to replace the damaged tissue or guided tissue regeneration, which involves placing small pieces of mesh between your jawbone and your gums. It allows bone and tissue to grow back while allowing the gum tissue to expand in the same place as the bone, giving the grafts more room to grow.
To combat severe bacterial infections, some may require antibiotics. Keep in mind, though, that before you take any medication, you should always consult your doctor. Some of their suggestions may include:
- Doxycycline gel – It shrinks pockets caused by periodontal disease. Periodontists or dentists apply it to the gum pockets after teeth scaling and root planing, where it releases the antibiotic gradually.
- Miniature minocycline microscopic particles – Dentists place these tiny particles containing minocycline in tissue pockets after scaling.
- Doxycycline tablets – These tablets prevent excessive enzymes from destroying gum tissue following periodontal treatment.
- Chlorhexidine chip – This small, antimicrobial gelatin chip slowly releases chlorhexidine. Dentists often place them in a tissue pouch near the gum line.
Is It Safe to Have Dental Work While Pregnant?
Expecting mothers often have questions about their pregnancy and oral health. Your gums might become more sensitive, and your teeth more vulnerable to cavities due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. That’s why preventive and annual dental cleanings are recommended during pregnancy. Having regular checkups and cleanings helps prevent dental problems and ensures your and your baby’s health.
Oral health should also be a priority during pregnancy. Hormonal changes make women more vulnerable to dental problems like gum disease and cavities that will need treatment. Dentists can, of course, treat pregnant women if necessary, but as the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.”
Enjoy healthy teeth and pregnancy with Advanced Dental Group.
If you are experiencing severe toothache while pregnant, our affiliate dentists in Dillon can help. They can treat your toothache and advise you on what to do to help keep your teeth and gums healthy and free from dental issues after pregnancy. Call us, and we’ll connect them to you right away.