Oral Care During Pregnancy

There is an old wives tale that you will lose a tooth for every child you have.  While this is a myth, your teeth take quite the beating during pregnancy.  While you are pregnant, your body experiences an increase in hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, and that can change how your body reacts to plaque.   Read on to learn how this affects your oral hygiene.  

Increased Risk of Tooth Decay

Due to your raging hormones, and your increase of carbohydrates, you may experience an increased risk of tooth decay.  Make sure that you brush your teeth at least twice a day.  It may be difficult due to your sensitive gag reflex or exhaustion, but it is imperative that you take care of your teeth while you are pregnant.  

Morning sickness also can increase the risk of tooth decay, as the acid in your vomit can weaken your enamel.  Resist the urge to brush your teeth right away, as you can scrub off some of your enamel.  Instead, rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash and brush your teeth no less than one hour after that time.  If brushing your teeth makes you feel like throwing up, wait for a time when you feel less queasy, like mid morning or early afternoon.  

Pregnancy Gingivitis

Due to the way your mouth reacts to plaque, you may experience what is known as pregnancy gingivitis.  Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that causes your gums to become swollen and red.  Prevent this condition by brushing your teeth twice a day, and eating healthy snacks that help your teeth such as apples and yogurt.  

Pregnancy Tumors

Sometimes, pregnant women experience a small growth along the gums known as a pregnancy tumor.  It isn’t cancerous, rather a swelling that happens due to your hormone changes and plaque.  The tumor may bleed easily and be annoying, but it should disappear after you have your baby.  If it dosen’t, talk to your dentist and they may be able to remove them.  

Can I Get Dental Work Done During Pregnancy?

It is possible to have dental work done while you are pregnant, but if you attempt to get it done in the third trimester, it may be too difficult to lie on your back for the time needed.  It is safe to have local anesthesia for both you and your baby, as is a dental X-ray.  You will be covered with a leaded apron to minimize exposure to the radiation.