Natural Horizons Wellness Centers Provide Dental Care During Pregnancy
You can expect to see your body change in many ways during pregnancy, including changes to your mouth and teeth. Many of these changes are the result of hormone fluctuations as you move through each stage of your pregnancy. Fluctuations in hormone levels can leave your mouth vulnerable to bacteria and the development of plaque, both of which can lead to tender gums during your pregnancy. Changes in hormones can also increase your risk for tooth decay. A few dental problems to look for during pregnancy include:
- Gum inflammation
- Advanced gum disease
- Non-cancerous tumors on the gums
Gum inflammation, known as gingivitis, is most common during the second trimester. Gingivitis causes gums to swell, bleed a little and become tender. Pregnancy can also worsen periodontal disease, which is an advanced form of gum disease. Pregnancy tumors are non-cancerous overgrowths of tissue on the gums, usually in the second trimester. These tumors are raspberry-like in appearance, bleed easily, and usually disappear at the end of the pregnancy. Many healthcare professionals believe the tumors develop as the result of plaque.
Pregnancy, Plaque, and the Health of Your Baby
When you are pregnant, your mouth does not develop more plaque but your body is less able to fight off plaque. When hormone levels are steady, especially estrogen and progesterone, they work efficiently to reduce plaque after it develops. Fluctuating hormone levels, however, do an inconsistent job of clearing up plaque and leave you at risk for gum disease. One of the most important things to remember is that whatever affects you also affects your baby. Some studies suggest that periodontal disease increases the risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, including low birth weight, preterm birth and miscarriage.
Dental Hygiene during Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, continue the same dental hygiene practices you always use — brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, floss and see your dentist regularly. Brushing helps remove plaque and flossing strengthens your gums while reducing your risk for gingivitis and periodontal disease. Here are some more tips for making dental hygiene more comfortable and effective during pregnancy:
- Brush three times a day if plaque is a problem
- Try a softer toothbrush if pregnancy has made your gums are swollen and tender
- Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse for added protection from plaque
- Rinse your mouth with water after vomiting from morning sickness to reduce tooth exposure to stomach acids
- Rinse your mouth with baking soda and water to neutralize acids after vomiting
- Eat a healthy diet rich in calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin C; avoid sugary foods and beverages
- Drink water after meals and between meals to rinse away plaque and stomach acids
Be sure to schedule regular dental checkups at Natural Horizons Wellness Centers during your pregnancy. Always tell your health care professional that you are pregnant, especially before undergoing X-rays or starting a new treatment plan. At Natural Horizons Wellness Centers, we have the experience and expertise necessary to reduce plaque, help prevent gum disease and improve the health and well-being of you and your baby.