Pregnancy has a tremendous effect on the entire body, and the mouth is no exception. Often, during pregnancy, the body and the immune system seem to function at an ultra-sensitive level, reacting unpredictably to normal situations.
The body’s response to the signs and symptoms of pregnancy can have a direct effect on the oral health. Always heed your obstetrician’s advice regarding your general health during pregnancy, and trust our Dr. Tate to provide expert advice regarding your prenatal dental health.
Inflamed gums. It is not uncommon for minimal amounts of plaque accumulation to cause the gums to become tender and inflamed. Bleeding during brushing and flossing is also a more common observation during pregnancy. Pregnant women should not be alarmed or feel the need to avoid the sensitive areas. Instead, careful and diligent brushing and flossing can help to curb these signs of gingivitis before it progresses to true periodontal disease.
Dry mouth. Stuffy nasal passages and late-night snoring can contribute to a dry, irritated mouth throughout pregnancy. Dry mouth can lead to irritated gum tissue that bleeds easily, as well as an increased incidence of tooth decay. Without the proper amount of saliva necessary to neutralize plaque acids, the risk for cavities rises significantly. Your dentist may recommend drinking more water throughout the night, choosing alcohol free mouth rinses, or using an over-the-counter saliva substitute.
Tooth decay. Consuming more frequent meals and snacks is the prime contributor to tooth decay in pregnant women. It can be difficult to impossible to brush and floss properly after every snack, and the residual food particles provide fuel for the bacteria that normally reside in the oral cavity.
Acid reflux. Gastrointestinal issues such as gas, acid reflux, and nausea can trigger bad breath and acid erosion of the enamel. Even women with no history of gastrointestinal disorders may notice these symptoms during pregnancy. By recognizing the symptom, observing careful plaque control, and eating mild foods, the effects can be minimized.
The best defense against some of the more unpleasant effects of pregnancy is a close relationship with your medical and dental healthcare professionals. For your health, dental examinations before, during, and after pregnancy are recommended. Call our caring team at Tate Family Dentistry and schedule your visit today!