During pregnancy and soon after, some women pay less attention to their oral health. There are also certain misconceptions about visiting a dentist during this time.
Pregnancy is an important phase in a woman’s life and maintaining oral health is directly related to good overall health.
Dr. Young H. Kim at Lincolnway Dental Center in Aurora, Illinois, understands your anxiety and explains why you need to take care of your oral health during pregnancy as well as after.
Effect of Hormones on Oral Health
The surge in hormones like estrogen and progesterone increases the permeability of blood vessels and facilitates the accumulation of plaque and oral bacteria. These hormones also increase the acidity of the mouth, which along with frequent snacking can lead to the development of cavities.
Oral Diseases During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Below are some of the issues caused by poor oral hygiene during pregnancy:
Gum bleeding and inflammation are commonly observed in pregnancy and are known as symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis. This condition is caused by poor oral hygiene in addition to the hormonal surge.
Chronic inflammation helps gingivitis advance to periodontitis. The release of inflammatory mediators from the mouth to the bloodstream may also cause preterm birth.
Some women may develop small, round, red-colored growths in their gums termed as pregnancy tumors or pyogenic granulomas after the first trimester of pregnancy. However, this condition does not necessarily require intervention as they regress after delivery.
The inadequate intake of calcium during pregnancy and breastfeeding may lead to bone degradation in order to support the growth of bones in the fetus and to supply the required amount of calcium in breast milk during lactation. Hence, this can also cause jawbone loss.
Should Dental Treatments Be Ignored?
Elective dental procedures like dental fillings, extractions, and X-rays can be performed during the second trimester. The American Dental Association considers dental X-rays and local anesthetics to be safe during pregnancy.
A lead apron and thyroid collar will also be given to shield your body from radiation exposure.
Oral Hygiene Care
Meticulous oral hygiene is necessary during pregnancy. Here are some oral hygiene tips to follow:
- Brush twice daily
- Floss once a day
- For morning sickness, use a bland type of toothpaste
- Avoid sugary and sticky foods
- Consume a balanced diet
- Rinse after every meal
- Get your teeth professionally cleaned at a dental office
If you have concerns about dental health during pregnancy and breastfeeding, contact Lincolnway Dental Center at (630) 897-1300 or visit us at 648 North Randall Road, Aurora, IL 60506.