The Many Ways Pregnancy Affects Oral Health

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we believe that knowledge is power. That’s why we think it’s important that women understand the many ways pregnancy can affect their oral health. Equipped with this knowledge, it’s easier for women to be proactive with prenatal dentistry and work with vigilance to prevent serious dental issues. Below are some common dental issues women can encounter during pregnancy and some ways they can be treated or prevented.

Pregnancy gingivitis

The CDC reports that 60-75% of expectant mothers experience this condition which is characterized by swollen, tender, bleeding gums. Left untreated, pregnancy gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, or gum disease, which can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss. Make an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Teeth erosion

As cited in our last post, 60-70% of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Between higher progesterone levels which create more acid in the mouth and vomiting from morning sickness, tooth erosion is a real prenatal concern. Swishing your mouth with water or alcohol-free mouthwash will help reduce acid buildup on teeth. Just be sure to wait to brush for at least 40 minutes after vomiting since stomach acid softens enamel and brushing too soon can actually damage teeth further.

Dry mouth

When a woman is pregnant, her body stores more water to accommodate increased blood volume. As a result, bacteria build up in her mouth, putting her at an increased risk for oral disease and causing bad breath. So what helps? Drinking lots of water and sucking on sugar-free candies are two easy ways for an expectant mother to keep her mouth hydrated and reduce bacteria buildup.

Gum disease

Periodontitis is a form of gum disease in which the soft tissue and bone that supports the teeth are destroyed. Caused by bacteria festering within the gum tissues, periodontitis can lead to low birth weight and premature birth. It’s easily preventable, however, with regular, thorough brushing and flossing and regular professional dental interventions. Periodontitis doesn’t always have obvious signs or symptoms and is nearly impossible to self-diagnose until it’s at a very severe state. Therefore, it’s important to see Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth at your recommended interval. 

Bone loss

Mothers nourish their growing babies by maintaining a healthy diet. Growing babies require a tremendous amount of calcium to grow healthy teeth and bones. When a pregnant mother isn’t taking enough calcium into her diet, her body will pull calcium from her teeth, jaw and other bones to nourish her baby. To prevent pregnancy-induced bone loss, moms-to-be must consume plenty of calcium-rich foods.

Loose teeth

As a result of fluctuating hormonal changes and the way in which those changes impact tissues and bones, pregnant women oftentimes notice that some of their teeth become loose. It’s important for women in this situation to make an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff right away so they can protect the integrity of their teeth and gums.   

We champion women’s oral health at Eggert Family Dentistry. If you’re pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, we would love to see you in our office for a routine dental exam. Give us a call to schedule your appointment at 651.482.8412!

Nutrition Tips for Pregnancy

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

At no other time in a woman’s life is nutrition as important as when she is eating both for herself and for her unborn baby. A growing baby requires a high concentration of vitamins and minerals – nutrients that will largely determine his or her health at birth and in certain capacities, for the rest of his or her life. That being said, healthy eating is critical during pregnancy…and it all begins with knowing the facts.

If you’re an expectant mother, consider these important tips for a nutritious diet:

Eat a rainbow every day.

You’ve likely heard this advice before but it couldn’t be more true. Incorporating a wide variety of healthy foods into your daily diet ensures that you and baby receive a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Make an effort to include fruits and veggies, whole grain breads and crackers, dairy products and proteins every day – and as many as you’re able – into each meal.

Dental detail: Your growing baby requires a good amount of calcium for growing bones and teeth and will take calcium from your bones and teeth if your diet doesn’t provide an ample amount. Don’t neglect dairy, especially during pregnancy!

Reduce your sugar intake.

This may mean putting your sweet tooth in its place if it’s getting a bit out of hand! Saying no to high-sugar foods like cookies, cake, ice cream and pop in favor of fruit, naturally sweetened foods and beverages, yogurt and nuts will help ward off gestational diabetes and ensure that you’re giving baby calories that count.

Dental detail: Sugary foods and beverages eat away at tooth enamel. Choose healthy substitutions as often as possible and be sure to brush, floss and rinse your mouth after consuming sugar.

Drink more water!

Hydration is of heightened importance during pregnancy. An expectant mom’s body demands more fluids to accommodate increased blood volume. Conversely, dehydration can lead to contractions and preterm labor. Milk is also a healthy, calcium-rich choice!

Dental detail: Choosing fluoridated water whenever possible is an investment in your mature teeth as well as in baby’s developing teeth. Fluoride strengthens enamel and creates a protective surface around teeth that helps ward off sugars and acids that threaten their integrity. Extra water will also help stave off pregnancy-induced gingivitis.

Seek out sources of folic acid.

In order to prevent serious birth defects such as spina bifida, make sure you consume a minimum of 600 mg of folic acid in your diet each day. Good sources of folic acid include asparagus, broccoli, leafy greens, beans, oranges, strawberries, bananas, fortified cereals and grains…among many others!


Dental detail: Many fruits and veggies high in folic acid are also high in calcium – broccoli, spinach, kale, oranges…A dental win-win!

Take prenatal vitamins.

You only get one chance to grow your baby healthy. Because it’s virtually impossible to get all the nutrition you and baby need from diet alone, taking a daily prenatal vitamin is a smart choice.

Dental detail: Prenatal vitamins are loaded with many vitamins and minerals including ample calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus and vitamin A – building blocks of healthy mature and developing teeth.

If you’re expecting or planning on getting pregnant and would like to learn more about nutrition for growing and maintaining healthy teeth, we would love to discuss this with you at your next appointment. You can make your next appointment at Eggert Family Dentistry by calling us at 651.482.8412 or by connecting with us online!

Dental Care Before, During and After Pregnancy

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Fluctuating hormones during pregnancy can impact a woman’s body in a number of ways. Nausea, stuffy nose, mood swings, loose ligaments…the list goes on! What many women don’t realize, however, is the impact that pregnancy has on oral health. In this post, we look at some proactive approaches to good oral health before, during and after pregnancy.

Before Pregnancy

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we recommend a thorough dental screening if you plan to become pregnant in the near future. At this appointment, we will clean your teeth, inspect your gum tissue and address any outstanding dental issues. Also, if you’re interested in pursuing any elective dental procedures, this is the time to schedule them!

During Pregnancy

  • Routine dental care during pregnancy is perfectly safe. In fact, because women are more prone to gingivitis and periodontal disease during pregnancy, we highly recommend routine visits! Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff can also attend to any urgent dental matters during pregnancy. 
  • On account of increased blood flow to gum tissue, pregnant women often experience tender, swollen, bleeding gums. Pay close attention to your gum tissue and stay the course with regular brushing and flossing. If you think you are dealing with pregnancy gingivitis, make an appointment with us so we can monitor your gum health and help you prevent ensuing gum disease and tooth loss. Sometimes coming in for more frequent cleanings makes a huge difference in gum health.
  • If you’re struggling with morning sickness, you’re not alone. In fact, 60-70% of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. If this is the case for you, regular brushing is even more critical. Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after vomiting, however, to help neutralize acid before brushing. If you’re turned off by the strong taste of toothpaste, switching to a bland toothpaste can help! Or, even brushing with water alone is better than nothing.
  • Eat healthy. As difficult as it can be to resist pregnancy junk food cravings, avoiding sugar can reduce your risk of pregnancy-induced tooth decay. Also, including foods rich in calcium helps your baby develop healthy teeth, gums and bones.

After Pregnancy

Schedule a postnatal visit to assess the health of your teeth and gums and to address any previously undetected pregnancy-related dental issues.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we get women’s health. We partner with you throughout your pregnancy journey to help you maintain optimal dental wellness! To schedule a visit, you can contact us at 651.482.8412 or connect with us online.

Replacing A Failing Bridge – Jackie’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Jackie had been a long time patient of Dr. Furey. The first time she saw Dr. Elizabeth, it was for a severe toothache. Unfortunately, the ache was coming from the progression of decay on her upper front teeth that were the anchors for her bridge. Saving the teeth wouldn’t be easy, but to do so, Jackie needed root canal treatment and a new bridge.

What did she want?

Jackie was concerned about needing to have her bridge replaced, but wanted to make the best choice for her oral care long-term. Jackie wanted to try to keep her natural teeth, if possible. However, a short time after referring Jackie to have a root canal done, Jackie’s original bridge ended up breaking off and her teeth were fractured at the gum line and no longer restorable. This required Dr. Elizabeth and Jackie to change the course of action and it was decided that an implant bridge would be more stable and predictable long-term than relying on natural teeth for an even longer-span natural tooth bridge.

What was involved?

Since Jackie’s original bridge had fractured at the gum line, Jackie needed an immediate solution to buy time until she could undergo her implant surgery. Dr. Elizabeth fabricated a retainer with a temporary bridge to replace her smile for the short-term. This option also gave the oral surgeon, Dr. Andreasen, access to remove the broken roots and place two implants for the anchors for her new implant bridge. Jackie was able to transition into a temporary implant bridge that hooked into her implants so she no longer needed to wear the retainer all the time. After a few months of healing, Jackie had impressions taken by Dr. Elizabeth and her new implant bridge was finalized.

What does she think?

Jackie was very excited to finish her treatment and move forward with a healthy beautiful smile. She was able to choose which shade she wanted and she wanted a nice bright color for her front teeth. Jackie is so excited that you can now see her front teeth when she smiles! Jackie made a big commitment in going through the implant process, but she knows it was worth it because now she is decay free and is able to trust her implants for eating. Congratulations Jackie!

The Serious Nature of Gum Disease in Women

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Gum disease is serious and can have a ripple effect on a person’s health. Complications from gum disease can look different for men and women. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we recognize the destructive nature of gum disease on both men’s and women’s health. With this article, we will spend time educating our female patients as to some of the best methods of preventing serious health problems.

How does gum disease affect a woman’s body?

When daily brushing and flossing are not prioritized, a bacterial infection can set in. This infection, which we know as gum disease, can easily enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc on numerous body systems and functions:

The heart: Gum disease increases the risk of heart disease which is already the number one killer of U.S. women. The likelihood of a fatal heart attack doubles when gum disease is present.

The lungs: Bacteria can travel into the lungs increasing the risk of pneumonia.

The brain: Oral infections increase the risk of stroke.

Blood sugar: Gum disease increases the risk of diabetes in healthy adults and people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease.

Gum disease in women can also increase pregnancy complications resulting in premature birth and low birth weight.

The intersection of female hormones and gum disease

Hormones fluctuate during different phases of a woman’s life. These fluctuating hormones can affect the gums and the way a woman’s body responds to plaque.   

  • In the days leading up to a woman’s monthly cycle, many women report tender, swollen gums. Irritated gums can attract and harbor plaque.
  • Women who take oral contraceptives often report inflamed gums which make them more prone to plaque build-up and gum disease.
  • During pregnancy, many women experience pregnancy gingivitis which manifests itself with red, inflamed, bleeding gums. This is due to the presence of plaque and harmful oral bacteria.
  • Menopause can induce red, inflamed gums and oral discomfort, creating an inviting environment for plaque and harmful bacteria.

Eggert Family Dentistry wants to partner with you to achieve and maintain healthy gum tissue during every phase of your life. Daily brushing and flossing as well as regular recare appointments are not only an investment in your oral health but in your overall health as well. If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with us, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff can be reached at 651.482.8412.

The Connection Between Female Hormones and Dental Health

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

As we touched on in our last post, the fluctuation of a woman’s hormones throughout the many seasons of her life greatly impacts the likelihood of developing gum disease and other serious health conditions. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we want to educate you on the subject so you have the tools you need to achieve optimal dental and overall wellness. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the role hormones play in a woman’s dental health throughout her life.

During puberty

During puberty, a teenage girl may complain of red, swollen and bleeding gums and even an increase in canker sores. This is perfectly normal and is caused by an increase in estrogen and progesterone which cause an increase in blood flow to the gums. On account of increased blood flow, the gums can become more sensitive and irritated and more prone to plaque and bacteria. In addition to regular dental recare appointments, flossing once a day and brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is highly beneficial. It will help thoroughly clean the teeth and gums and keep plaque and bacteria from building up and causing problems.

During menstruation

Leading up to their monthly cycle, many women experience oral irritation. These symptoms should subside after menstruation stops and include swollen, tender, bleeding gums and cankers sores – very similar to what the teenagers experience. Again, consistent brushing, flossing and fluoride use will help ward off gum disease and consequent health problems.

During pregnancy

Pregnancy is another season of a woman’s life when hormone levels surge, oftentimes causing pregnancy gingivitis – a mild form of gum disease. In addition to regular brushing and flossing, dental visits during pregnancy are not only safe but they are incredibly beneficial. Women are particularly sensitive to pregnancy gingivitis between months 2-8 of pregnancy. This is a great window of time to come in to Eggert Family Dentistry for a recare appointment.

During menopause

Menopause is yet another season of vast hormonal changes in a woman’s body. However, instead of an increase in hormone levels, menopause marks a sharp decrease in the production of estrogen. Two of the most common hormonally induced changes during this time are dry mouth and bone loss.

Dry mouth: Saliva cleanses the mouth of cavity and gum disease-causing bacteria. During menopause, when a woman experiences dry mouth, bacteria can more easily build up and can increase her risk of developing cavities and gum disease. Sucking on sugar-free candy, drinking plenty of water and using over-the-counter mouth spray can help combat dry mouth and promote dental health.

Bone loss: The decrease in estrogen levels during menopause can result in bone loss, even bone loss in the jaw. One telltale sign of bone loss affecting the jaw is receding gums. When gums recede, more of the tooth is exposed and the risk of cavities and tooth decay increases. Proper intake of calcium and Vitamin D can help curb bone loss and reduce the risk of decay.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we believe that good dental health starts with the basics. Thorough daily brushing and flossing as well as routine dental exams help lay a solid dental foundation for a lifetime. It’s also important for women to remain mindful of their dental health during the various hormonal seasons of their lives. If you want to learn more about how female hormonal changes affect dental health or to schedule a routine dental exam, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff can be reached at 651.482.8412.