To say that pregnancy affects every part of your body is a serious understatement. The hormones in your body undergo major changes within a few days of conception. You may have experienced several of these hormonal effects already, such as fatigue, nausea, and a stronger sense of smell. While most women know to expect these issues, they’re often surprised at the impact that pregnancy hormones have on their oral health. This is especially true of the gums.
The Link Between Pregnancy and Gum Disease
If you have developed gingivitis while pregnant, you’re not alone. The American Dental Association states that 50 percent of pregnant women have the same issue. This mild and early form of gum disease typically develops between month two and eight of pregnancy. For most women, gingivitis disappears after they give birth. Unfortunately for others, the gingivitis they develop during pregnancy turns into advanced and persistent gum disease. That is why it’s important to continue to visit the dentist during pregnancy and to brush and floss at least twice a day.
The amounts of progesterone and estrogen in your body increase significantly when you’re pregnant. The greater amounts of these hormones cause more blood to flow to your gums. This in turn leads to heightened sensitivity. Because of the increased amount of progesterone and estrogen in your body, you may experience bleeding, inflammation, and gum tenderness for the first time. These are some of the earliest and most common signs of gum disease, which can cause the eventual loss of teeth and bone if not treated. Be sure to schedule an appointment at Southbridge Dentistry if you notice these symptoms.
Morning Sickness and Tooth Health
The term morning sickness is well-known but inaccurate. If you’re currently pregnant, you know that nausea and vomiting can happen any time of the day with or without warning. Women who struggle with persistent vomiting while pregnant can end up with damaged teeth due to the stomach acid that passes over the teeth while vomiting. While you can’t always control vomiting during pregnancy, you can prevent the erosion of your teeth because of this problem. Simply rinse your mouth with diluted mouthwash, water, or one cup of water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda and then brush your teeth 30 minutes later.
It’s Safe to Visit the Dentist During Pregnancy
You would normally be due for one or two dental check-ups during the nine months of pregnancy. At Southbridge Dental, we urge you to keep these appointments to ensure that your gums and teeth remain healthy throughout your pregnancy and beyond. According to the American Dental Association, you don’t even have to delay fillings, crowns, and other necessary procedures since these types of restorations can guard against infections and gum disease that could get worse without an intervention. However, we do recommend waiting until after you give birth to complete any elective cosmetic procedures.