Pregnancy creates so many changes in the body, it’s hard to keep up. Did you know that being pregnant can impact your oral health, too? It’s true! Because each woman’s body is so different, it can be hard to understand the changes that are taking place. That’s why you need a team you can trust to help walk you through everything, including your oral health.
From interventions to day-to-day questions, support, and evaluations, the team at Northeast Arkansas Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is here to support you through pregnancy and beyond! Keep reading to learn more about how pregnancy might be impacting your oral health, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team if you need more help!
Change in Diet
When you are pregnant, often your diet changes, sometimes by accident. Morning sickness and cravings may encourage you to eat more or less certain foods that could put your teeth at risk. Specifically sugary foods and drinks, or acids like citrus and energy drinks can be hard on the teeth, and wear down the enamel. This can lead to cavities and gum problems when not cared for properly.
Change in Your Habits Lead to Cavities
More than just your eating habits, many things can switch up during pregnancy. If you are frequently vomiting from morning sickness, the stomach acid can have a negative effect on your tooth enamel. Some people dislike brushing and flossing when pregnant because of a sensitive gag reflex, which means that you may not be getting your teeth as clean as often as they need.
Women who are pregnant need to be extra diligent about keeping their teeth clean during this time or risk more serious oral health problems. Do your best to continue brushing and flossing regularly, and rinse your mouth immediately after vomiting to reduce the impact of stomach acid. We are sorry you are going through this, and hope you feel much better soon!
Gums Can Become Inflamed
Gum inflammation is a really common occurrence during pregnancy. It can happen at any point during your pregnancy but is most common during the 3rd trimester. It usually happens due to hormonal changes that impact the natural bacteria levels in your mouth and inflammation in your body. When these bacteria grow more quickly than usual, it can lead to pregnancy-induced-gingivitis.
Gingivitis is a gum disease where the gums become inflamed, tender, bleed easily, and lead to more serious issues like periodontal disease, which is an infection of the gums. These are fairly serious issues and should be treated by a professional like Dr. McDonough or Dr. Phillips. Though you should know that gingivitis with pregnancy is very common and can impact up to 70% of all mothers-to-be.
Teeth Can Feel Looser
One of the stranger oral health changes that can happen during pregnancy is your tooth feeling looser than usual. This is due to a specific hormone called relaxin that is increased more than 10x than usual during pregnancy. Relaxin helps to loosen the cartilage that holds your bones together. This is of course to help your hips and pelvic bones to be more flexible during childbirth, but it can have a pretty big impact on your whole body, including your teeth!
This might feel a bit disconcerting but don’t worry too much. Once you deliver your baby, your body’s relaxin level should go back to normal and your teeth should go back to normal as well. Just be a little cautious about biting on hard or chewy things throughout your pregnancy to reduce the chances of shifting your teeth.
How to Care For Your Oral Health During Pregnancy
Now that we’ve gone through all of the things that are possible for your oral health during pregnancy, let’s talk about what you can do to support your health! For starters, continue with your daily brushing and flossing as much as you possibly can. We recommend brushing twice every day, in the morning and evening, and flossing once. This is the basic level of care that we recommend for all of our patients.
If you are struggling to maintain this basic level of care due to a sensitive stomach or gag reflex, then we recommend doing whatever you possibly can until the worst of the symptoms go away. Swishing some mouthwash, or brushing without toothpaste will be better than nothing at all!
Another thing you should plan to do is continue seeing your dentist at regular 6-month intervals to have your teeth cleaned. You can ask for specific support for your pregnancy and let your team know if you have struggled with any issues like gingivitis or regular hygiene. That is what we are here for, and we want you to feel as confident and as safe as possible!
We Are Here to Help!
Our team at Northeast Arkansas Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is here to support you throughout your pregnancy! Give us a call and see how we can be a part of your team that supports your life-long oral health. We hope to see you at our Jonesboro location very soon!