Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life. However, it’s not always easy, and it often brings physical and psychological changes that are demanding and unfamiliar. It’s common to experience dental problems during pregnancy, so it’s important to know what to watch for and when to seek professional care.
Dental health during pregnancy
With evidence suggesting a link between gum disease and premature birth, maintaining healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy is essential. It's helpful to be aware of the signs of dental problems so you can quickly and appropriately deal with any issues that may arise. Common signs of trouble include:
- Loose teeth
- Sores on the mouth, tongue, gums or lips
- Bad breath
- Tender gums
All of these signs can suggest a number dental issues, including gum disease. You should seek help from a dental professional if any of the above problems occur during pregnancy.
Other dental health issues that can occur
Discolouration of teeth during pregnancy may be caused by several factors, including taking iron supplements and stomach acid in the mouth from morning sickness-associated vomiting and acid reflux.
Many pregnant women complain of having a dry mouth during pregnancy, especially at night. Dry mouth can be caused by chemical changes in the body in response to pregnancy.
Because a woman’s body responds differently to plaque during pregnancy, the enamel can be worn down far more easily than under normal circumstances. Similarly, destruction of enamel due to prolonged morning sickness is common among many pregnant women.
Gingivitis, or the swelling and bleeding of the gums, is a result of a build-up of plaque. Hormonal changes in the body give rise to a higher susceptibility to plaque build-up in pregnant women, increasing the likelihood of gingivitis.
Is it safe to visit a dentist during pregnancy?
Yes, routine checkups are safe during pregnancy. Most dental medications are also safe to use, although you should always get confirmation from your dentist before taking something.
You can prevent common pregnancy-related dental issues by doing the following:
Keep your dentist in loop
During pregnancy, it is likely you are taking supplements and medicine to ensure you and your baby are healthy. Inform your dentist of any medication you may be taking, as your dentist may choose to alter your treatment based on your information.
Maintain your oral hygiene
Maintaining oral hygiene is extremely important during pregnancy. Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoride-based toothpaste, and floss at least once a day. If you are regularly vomiting due to morning sickness, brush your teeth afterwards to remove any harmful acids from your teeth.
Routine check-ups are essential
With hormonal changes putting you more at risk of gum disease, it is important not to miss out on routine check-ups with your dentist. Aim to visit your dentist at least once during your pregnancy to ensure your dental health is good and to have any issues such as a cavity fixed.
Eat a healthy diet
It can be difficult to eat healthfully during pregnancy, especially if your cravings make you want to eat foods that aren’t good for your health. However, being careful not to not go overboard with sugary or starchy foods will help to keep your teeth and gums at their best.
Take a prenatal supplement
Even if you're eating a mostly healthy diet, it can be tricky to achieve perfect nutrition during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about taking a prenatal vitamin supplement to ensure you're getting all of the necessary nutrients for your health and the baby's proper growth and development.