Pregnancy is an exciting time as you prepare for the newest member of your family. Most expectant mothers focus on a healthy diet, exercise, vitamins. They also give up not-so-healthy habits. But many don’t realize the importance of oral health during pregnancy.
Unfortunately, ignoring your teeth and gums can lead to several problems that can affect the health of your baby.
At Metro Dental in Denver, we understand the importance of keeping your teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy. Our dentists know how to safely protect your oral health. We help reduce your chances of infection or decay. This decreases the risk of toothache and gum disease.
Why is avoiding a toothache during pregnancy important?
The most obvious answer? Pregnancy is a difficult time to experience a toothache. Options are limited for expectant mothers. For the health of the baby, pregnancy eliminates many options for the treatment of a toothache, including medications and procedures.
During pregnancy, oral health becomes more important than at any other time. Hormone shifts in progesterone and estrogen increase susceptibility for infection (abscess), decay (cavities), and gum disease. Any of these can lead to a serious issue that causes a toothache.
For expectant mothers, gum disease can affect the health of the baby. Studies show correlations between periodontitis and low birth weight. It can also cause premature birth. To increase your chances of a safe delivery and healthy baby, don’t allow swollen, tender, or bleeding gums go untreated.
How important is oral health during pregnancy?
The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis. This occurs when plaque and bacteria accumulate on teeth. When not removed with regular brushing and flossing, this sticky substance hardens into calculus. Calculus, also known as tarter, irritates the gums. The irritation causes swelling and bleeding.
Untreated, the tarter attracts more plaque and bacteria. This forms more tarter and further irritates the gums. The build-up progresses and spreads below the gum line, resulting in periodontitis. In this stage, the bacteria cause gum recession. It also destroys bone surrounding the teeth. Ultimately, this leads to tooth loss.
Once gum disease progresses to periodontitis, flossing and brushing are not enough. The build-up is too deep to reach. At this point, professional deep cleaning with scaling and root planing is needed.
If periodontitis is ignored, it can progress to advanced gum disease. At this stage, the problem is too deep for scaling and root planing. Gum surgery is needed.
Oral Health and Pregnancy Tumors
Another potential problem many expectant moms face is “pregnancy tumors.” These usually occur in the gums between teeth, but can also occur on the lower lip, tongue, palate, and oral mucosa.
These tumors are often associated with gum disease. Other factors can also contribute, including hormones and trauma from tartar build-up.
While not cancerous, these tumors can grow rapidly and become quite large and irritating. Sometimes they require surgical removal after giving birth.
Focus on Oral Health As Soon as You Find Out You Are Pregnant
When you learn you are pregnant, increased oral care should start as soon as possible. Good home oral hygiene and routine visits to your dentist should keep your oral health in check.
We understand. Oral health may not be high on your radar.
Pregnancy brings on a myriad of concerns, questions, and stressors that demand your attention. But for your health and the health of your baby, avoiding gingivitis, tumors, and toothaches during pregnancy is important. Keeping up with good home oral hygiene and regular dental visits is vital.
Tips for Oral Health During Pregnancy
When pregnant, there are several things to keep in mind that help keep your oral health at its best.
- Diligent at-home care: At a minimum, floss daily and brush twice a day. We also recommend introducing an antiseptic mouthwash with fluoride. This helps strengthen your tooth enamel and wards off plaque and tartar build-up that contribute to gum disease.
- Be prepared for morning sickness: If you suffer from vomiting due to morning sickness, be sure to care for your mouth and teeth afterward. A quick rinse with a simple solution of water and baking soda will return your mouth’s pH levels to normal and protect your enamel from harmful stomach acids.
- Maintain regular appointments: Continue attending regular dental cleanings and examinations during pregnancy. Our Metro Dental Care team can help to remove tartar buildup and spot early signs of tooth decay, pregnancy tumors, and gingivitis to ensure your mouth is as healthy as possible.
- Choose healthy, low-starch foods: Eating a healthy, balanced diet low in sugar and simple carbohydrates helps keep your baby healthy. But it also comes with the added benefit of preventing additional plaque build-up on your teeth and gums. The harmful bacteria in plaque feed off starches left behind in your mouth after eating sugary or starchy foods. If you do indulge, be sure to brush or drink a glass of water afterward to remove any left behind starches.
Quality Dental Care in Denver, CO
Whether you are experiencing tooth pain, need to schedule a dental cleaning, or have questions about dental care for your family, Metro Dental Care can help. Our Denver practice helps expectant mothers and patients just like you have healthy, beautiful smiles for a better quality of life.
Contact us online or call us today at (303) 534-2626 to schedule your appointment.