Being pregnant actually requires a lot of sacrifice. For instance, during this time, a mom-to-be can get so focused on making everything perfect for her little one that she can neglect her own health. However, a pregnant woman who cares for herself is also caring for her unborn child—that’s especially true when it comes to oral health.
Contributors to Declining Tooth and Gum Health
It’s common for a pregnant woman’s tooth and gum health to decline during pregnancy due to a multitude of reasons, including:
Pregnant women often experience fatigue or exhaustion. As a result, routine nighttime brushing and flossing can get skipped, in addition to regular dental visits. This can lead to plaque and bacteria build-up which may lead to tooth decay.
During pregnancy, changing hormones can cause pregnancy gingivitis, irritated gums that bleed because they are inflamed. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that includes bone loss. Research also suggests a link between babies born at a lower birth weight and gingivitis.
Vomiting causes stomach acid to get into the mouth, which weakens tooth enamel. This puts pregnant women at a greater risk for cavities.
Eating more often during pregnancy is common, but frequent snacking (especially on sugary or starchy foods) puts teeth in constant contact with acid. As mentioned above, this can weaken the tooth enamel.
Expecting women consume prenatal vitamins that contain folic acid to support their babies’ health during pregnancy. However, chewy or gummy vitamins stick on the teeth and most contain sugar that can damage teeth. To avoid this, we recommend choosing a vitamin that is in pill form.
How Dental Hygiene Can Affect Your Baby’s Health
When a pregnant woman has excessive bacteria growth in her mouth, it can enter the bloodstream through her gums and travel to the uterus. This can trigger the production of chemicals called prostaglandin, which may result in premature labor.
Additionally, after the baby arrives, a mother can potentially pass her bacteria on to her newborn. Therefore, a mother who has a lot of bacteria in her mouth may pass that bacteria to her newborn.
How to Avoid Complications
Expectant mothers who brush their teeth thoroughly can reduce the risk of suffering dangerous complications in pregnancy. At Snow Family Dentistry, we suggest brushing with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, and after each meal when possible. You also should floss each day.
Additionally, we recommend getting frequent checkups and cleanings during your pregnancy to help control plaque and prevent gingivitis.
If you’re an expecting mother-to-be and need to schedule a checkup, please click here!.