Pregnancy is an exciting time for many women as they prepare to welcome a new addition to their family. However, it’s essential to remember that pregnancy can also affect your oral health, leading to issues such as gum disease and tooth decay. To gain a deeper understanding of how pregnancy impacts your oral health, continue reading and discover valuable insights from Dr. Laurie McNamara McClatchey and Dr. James A. McNamara at McNamara Orthodontics.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Your Gums?
Gum disease, or gingivitis, is not necessarily caused by pregnancy. Still, it can worsen pre existing gum disease. Pregnancy hormones can cause changes in the chemical composition of your body, leading to changes in vitamin and mineral levels, and altering the soft tissue around the gums. As a result, symptoms of gingivitis can increase in severity throughout pregnancy, reaching a peak during the third trimester. While most symptoms should recede a few months after birth, severe gum disease, or periodontitis, can increase in severity with pregnancy. Periodontitis in women is linked to premature birth and low-weight birth, with studies showing that roughly 18% of premature births can be associated with periodontal disease.
What Vitamins Do You Need More Of?
Maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy is essential for both mother and child. In addition to the usual recommended vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid, iron, and calcium, it’s also important to ensure adequate intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and bones, and a deficiency can increase the risk of gum disease.
Does Pregnancy Cause Tooth Decay?
Changes in saliva composition associated with pregnancy can make the teeth more susceptible to decay and may cause enamel erosion. However, with a good oral health routine, this chemical change shouldn’t cause significant damage to your teeth and should not last past pregnancy. The bigger risk of decay during pregnancy is acidic deposits from vomit. Many women experience morning sickness during pregnancy and vomit more often than usual, sometimes multiple times a day. Vomit has high levels of acid, which can lead to significant enamel damage and a more permanent risk of decay. After vomiting, it’s best to wait ten to fifteen minutes before brushing your teeth. Swishing some water around gently right after you vomit and taking a few minutes before you brush makes sure the acid-weakened enamel doesn’t get further damaged by rough brushing. A fluoride mouthwash added to your oral health routine will help strengthen your enamel and protect it from damage.
In conclusion, maintaining good oral health is essential during pregnancy to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Make sure to inform your dentist of your pregnancy so they can adjust your treatment accordingly. Additionally, maintaining a healthy diet, including adequate intake of vitamin D, and a good oral hygiene routine can help keep your teeth and gums healthy during this exciting time.