Can Pregnancy Affect Your Dental Health?
How pregnancy can affect your dental health.
If you are pregnant or getting ready to become pregnant, you probably understand that your body is going to go through a lot of changes. When it comes to pregnancy and teeth, there is a lot to know about. Therefore, it is important for you to take a look at some of the key points below so that you have a good understanding of how pregnancy could impact your dental health. What do you need to know about pregnancy and dental care? Learn more below, and remember to reach out to a trained medical professional if you have any questions or concerns.
Why Is Dental Health So Important During Pregnancy?
First, when we are talking about dental help, we are talking about your gums, teeth, mouth, and tongue. Of course, dental health is incredibly important for your overall health as well. There are a lot of infections that can impact the body that often start in the mouth. Furthermore, if your dental care is poor, you are going to have a difficult time getting the nutrition you need to support your various tissues and organs. When you are supporting a growing unborn child, it is doubly important for you to make sure you get the nutrition you need. That way, your baby will develop appropriately. Therefore, it is important for you to take care of your health.
If you are pregnant, you could be at a greater risk of developing oral health concerns. If you develop oral health problems, your health and the health of your baby could suffer. How does pregnancy impact your dental health?
How does pregnancy affect your dental health?
There are several ways that pregnancy can impact your dental health. Even though it is important for you to practice good dental hygiene all the time, this is particularly important when you become pregnant. Your body goes through a lot of physiological changes during pregnancy, and this can have an impact on your dental health as well. A few of the areas that you need to think about regarding pregnancy and dental care include:
- A lot of women are more tired than they were prior to pregnancy, so they may not brush and floss as often as they used to. This could increase your risk of developing a wide variety of oral health concerns.
- When you are pregnant, levels of certain hormones can change. For example, progesterone and estrogen levels can increase. This could also play a role in the possible development of oral health problems.
- It is not unusual for women to develop cravings for certain foods. Women may eat more or less of certain foods than they did before. Depending on how your eating habits change, this could also increase your risk for certain oral health problems.
Now, it's time to take a deeper dive into some of these issues. What are a few examples of problems you might develop?
If you are experiencing a toothache during pregnancy, there is a possibility that you may have oral decay. Usually, these are called cavities or caries. A toothache in pregnancy is often a sign of oral decay. The cavities are usually caused by bacteria. Bacteria digest food that is left on the surfaces of your teeth. When bacteria complete the digestion process, they release acid as a by-product. It is this acid that can cause cavities, leading to a toothache pregnancy.
If cavities are allowed to progress unchecked, they could lead to tooth loss during pregnancy as well. Furthermore, a lot of the bacteria that cause cavities could be passed to the baby during pregnancy. Therefore, it is important for women to make sure they take care of their teeth and prevent the development of cavities. That way, the teeth of their unborn child will develop appropriately as well. Cavities during pregnancy are a significant concern, so women need to make sure they brush at least twice per day and floss daily. This can go a long way toward preventing the development of cavities.
It is also not unusual for women to develop something called pyogenic granulomas, which are pregnancy tumors. Importantly, these tumors are not cancer. They do not contain any oncogenic potential. Instead, they are lumps that usually form on the gums. They tend to develop between the teeth. Pregnancy tumors look raw, red, and can cause aesthetic concerns. Furthermore, pregnancy tumors can bleed easily.
In a lot of cases, a pyogenic granuloma is caused by an excess amount of plaque on the teeth. Black is a sticky film that creates a home for bacteria. They tend to form on the surfaces of the teeth. Often, pregnancy tumors go away immediately after giving birth. Therefore, it is important for women to be patient. On the other hand, there are some situations where they may need to be removed by a medical provider or a dental provider.
Pregnancy tumors come in many shapes and forms, so women with concerns need to make sure they meet with a dentist. That way, they understand exactly what they are dealing with and they understand how to mitigate the formation of plaque on the teeth during pregnancy.
Gum disease is also common during pregnancy. If you are experiencing sore gums in pregnancy, or if you noticed that your gums bleed during pregnancy, this is a sign that there could be something wrong with your gums. Your gums are important because they provide a sturdy foundation for your teeth. If you develop gum disease, you could be at risk of losing your teeth. In general, there are two separate types of gum disease. The first is called gingivitis.
Pregnancy gingivitis refers to inflammation of the gum tissue. Your gums may look red and begin to swell. If you have gingivitis, then your gums also bleed more easily than they would otherwise. This is one of the most common oral health concerns during pregnancy, and gingivitis can present in a variety of ways. You may notice redness and swelling, you could notice tenderness, and your gums might even bleed even when you are brushing gently. You must make sure you brush and floss regularly to prevent the development of gingivitis.
If gingivitis is allowed to progress unchecked, you could develop periodontal disease. This is a serious infection of the gum that could impact the jaw underneath the surface. If you are not careful, periodontitis can lead to bacteria in the bloodstream, usually called bacteremia. This is a serious condition that has to be treated immediately before it causes sepsis. Of note, smoking can dramatically increase your risk of developing severe gum disease.
You may also experience sensitive teeth pregnancy. Sensitive teeth early pregnancy symptom is not unusual. Some women even notice they have tooth pain before they even know they are pregnant. There are numerous ways that tooth pain might present. For example, you may notice that you are unable to hot or cord substances as easily as you once did.
In some cases, this could even progress to unbearable tooth pain while pregnant. It is important to understand the difference between sensitive teeth and discomfort as a sign of a potentially serious oral health problem. If you notice that your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold substances, you should talk to a dentist about ways you might be able to mitigate this factor. On the other hand, if your teeth are tender, sore, or if you are experiencing unbearable tooth pain while pregnant, this could be a sign of a more serious oral health concern. That is why it is important to meet with a dentist as quickly as possible to get this addressed.
What Are the Main Symptoms of Dental Issues?
If you are wondering about dental issues while pregnant, there are several symptoms you need to know about. Of course, there are numerous oral health problems that could develop during pregnancy. Therefore, they can present differently. At the same time, there are a few common symptoms that indicate a serious oral health concern. These include:
You might notice that you have bad breath, also known as halitosis.
- You may feel like some of your teeth are loose, which could be a sign of gum disease or periodontitis.
- You may notice that your mouth is sore all the time, even when you are not brushing and flossing.
- You may look in the mirror and think that your gums are receding, meaning that you can see more of your teeth than you once could.
- Your gums may look red and swollen. They may bleed easily even if you are brushing carefully.
- You may notice lumps or bumps in between your teeth.
- Your teeth may be sore or sensitive all the time.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, you need to see a dentist as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that you can also prevent a lot of these issues from developing by brushing and flossing regularly.
How Can You Prevent and Improve Your Dental Condition?
Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent and improve your dental health. Even though there are some cautions to take regarding dental work while pregnant, it is still important for you to get regular checkups. If you are wondering, “can I go to the dentist while pregnant, “you need to go to the dentist regularly before and during your pregnancy. When you go to the dentist, make sure you inform him or her that you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. He or she might be able to give you a few steps you can take to improve your overall health and make pregnancy just a little bit easier for your teeth and gums to bear.
A few additional points include:
- Make sure you tell the dentist about any medications you are taking. Your dentist might recommend changes you can make to improve your oral health.
- If your pregnancy is high risk, your dentist needs to know. He or she might take added precautions to protect you and your baby.
- You need to brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly. Furthermore, make sure you do not skip your dental check-ups while pregnant. This is important for preventing the development of cavities.
If you keep these points in mind, you should be able to take care of your teeth while pregnant.
Take Care of Your Teeth While Pregnant
When you are pregnant, your body is going to go through a lot of changes. This includes changes that impact your oral health. Your oral health plays an important role in your nutrition, which is now supporting two people. Furthermore, if you do not take care of your teeth, bacteria could fester in your mouth. In some cases, these bacteria could pass into your bloodstream, navigating their way to your unborn child. You need to prevent this from happening by brushing and flossing regularly. Finally, make sure you go to the dentist for regular check-ups as well.
A few common questions people ask about dental care and pregnancy include:
Are x-rays safe during pregnancy?
Yes, dental X-rays are safe during pregnancy. X-rays use an incredibly small amount of radiation, and your dentist is going to cover you and your baby with a special apron to prevent radiation from impacting your uterus.
Can tooth infection affect unborn baby?
Yes, it is possible for a tooth infection to impact your unborn baby. Bacteria could enter your bloodstream and flow to your unborn baby. This could impact your baby’s teeth and his or her overall health. Make sure you prevent a tooth infection by brushing and flossing regularly.
Can you whiten your teeth while pregnant?
It depends on the teeth whitening methods you use, but it is usually not recommended. Even though teeth whitening is safe for your unborn baby, it could increase your risk of developing other oral health complications which can be unpleasant.