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!

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