Oral Health During Pregnancy
Taking good care of our teeth and gums is so important during pregnancy. We all know regular visits to our OBGYN is a part of being pregnant. What about regular visits and cleanings with your dentist (the amazing Dr. Hahn), during pregnancy? These visits are also crucial for your overall health and unborn baby’s health during pregnancy!!
During pregnancy our hormones change… This isn’t new news. Did you know the fluctuating of hormones can cause dental problems or make existing dental problems worse – loose teeth, gum disease, pregnancy tumors on gums and tooth decay? Now, this is new news to many expecting women.
Loose teeth during pregnancy sounds scary. The increased levels of progesterone and estrogen can make the bones that support our teeth loosen as part of the destructive process caused by gum disease. Yikes!
Almost half of pregnant women will suffer from some form of periodontal (gum) disease during pregnancy. Bacteria normally cause low levels of inflammation that can skyrocket with the hormone changes, resulting in sensitive and inflamed gums or what’s known gingivitis. Yes, those dang hormones are also responsible for pregnancy gingivitis. If this goes untreated it could turn into severe gum disease. Severe gum disease can lead to pregnancy complications such as preterm birth and low birth weight babies. The good news is, this is all preventable with good dental health!
Pregnancy tumors on gums? Well this sounds fun. They are mostly small, painless, red, purple or pink bumps on the gums. What causes pregnancy tumors? It’s that same exaggerated inflammation from plaque and bacteria in combo with those pesky hormones.
Tooth decay risks increase during pregnancy due to increased acidity in our mouths. As if morning sickness wasn’t bad enough, right! The gastric acid that comes up with morning sickness is extremely acidic, which weakens the enamel, making a great environment for bacteria to thrive.
Another common cause of increased decay during pregnancy is the misinformation out there about not taking x-rays while pregnant. Dental x-rays are actually a very, very low dose of radiation (equivalent to standing outdoors in the sunlight), safe, and still necessary to detect cavities. Talk to your OB about this and they will tell you the same thing.
What can we do to keep our teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy? For starters, make that dentist appointment and don’t miss your regularly scheduled visits! By making a dentist appointment in the first trimester, you and Dr. Hahn can set up a dental plan that will work for the rest of your pregnancy. Get regular dental cleanings at Rhoades Family Dentistry. Brush 2 times a day and after every snack & meal. Floss, floss, floss – every day. Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash will help keep bacteria away. Increase your calcium intake – yes, eat foods high in calcium like spinach, broccoli, kale, milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Good dental hygiene habits prevent oral problems during pregnancy. They also could affect the health of your sweet unborn baby.
Give us a call and book your pregnancy exam today. We look forward to helping you with your dental needs throughout your pregnancy.
Have a Great Day from your Favorite Olathe Dentist Office, Rhoades Family Dentistry!