Pregnancy causes major changes to a woman’s body and health. These same hormonal changes can also cause concern for the health of your teeth. Many women are able to get through a full-term pregnancy without dental issues. However, pregnancy can cause old issues to get worse and cause new issues to pop up. During pregnancy, it is important to get regular dental check-ups and make an appointment with a dentist if any issues arise. The following are a few important issues to watch for.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause gum tissue to become inflamed and tender. It is often first noticed when bleeding occurs during toothbrushing and flossing. If this gingivitis is left untreated, it can cause more serious forms of gum disease later in life. More frequent cleanings may be recommended to help avoid serious issues.
Many pregnant women report craving sweets which increases the risk of tooth decay. Additionally, some pregnant women are plagued with morning sickness. The increased acidity on the teeth due to vomiting can erode healthy tooth enamel away and allow decay to take hold. If morning sickness does not cause vomiting, it can cause nausea and a hyperactive gag reflex. This gag reflex can lead women to skip their usual dental hygiene routine because it makes them feel sick. Continuing good oral hygiene habits is important especially during pregnancy. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. If tooth decay is suspected, the dentist should be contacted immediately.
While this sound scary, pregnancy tumors are an overgrowth of tissue that appears on the gums during pregnancy. They are not related to cancer. These tissue growths tend to happen between the teeth and may be related to excess plaque. Pregnancy tumors bleed easily when disturbed with floss of toothbrushing and have a red raspberry appearance to them. Luckily, they usually disappear after pregnancy but if they are bothersome they can be removed.
If issues occur during pregnancy that warrant dental work needing to be done, it is perfectly safe to have local anesthetic in order to get numb. This will not harm the baby. Dental X-rays are also safe during pregnancy since a lead shield will be used to cover the abdomen and dental x rays use such low levels of radiation.
Pregnancy is not the time to neglect your oral health. It is important and safe for mothers and their unborn babies to visit their dentist as usual and to make an appointment should any troublesome issues come up.