It comes as no surprise that pregnancy affects almost every part of your body – after all, growing a human is a pretty intensive task! But did you realize that pregnancy can even affect your teeth? Our dentist in Fuquay-Varina is sharing four surprising ways pregnancy affects your dental health and how you can keep your teeth healthy over the next nine months and beyond.
Pregnancy Can Cause More Cavities
Hormone changes can actually cause your saliva to become more acidic which can eat through enamel and lead to an increase in cavities and tooth decay. This can be compounded by eating more frequently and consuming more sugar that also produces acidity as bacteria feeds on the sugar in plaque.
Bleeding Gums and Gingivities Are Common
As many as 75 percent of pregnant women have gingivitis according to the March of Dimes. Often, this is caused by excess blood volume which makes your gums swell and become inflamed. They will also bleed more easily when you floss and brush. With proper care during your pregnancy, generally, your gums will go back to being healthy after you have your baby, but you should also discuss this with your dentist as soon as you see the signs.
Signs of gingivitis include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Tenderness in the gums
- A shiny appearance to gum tissue (often because they are swollen)
- Bleeding gums
Hormone Fluctuations Cause Loose Teeth
When you’re pregnant, you’re producing high quantities of progesterone and estrogen. These same hormones that support your baby’s growth can also affect the bones and ligaments that hold your teeth in place and keep them stable, causing them to feel loose and wiggle. This should be very mild and your teeth should be at no risk of loss, but you should still bring this issue up to your dentist.
Pregnancy Tumors on the Gums
Called pyogenic granuloma, these tumors are benign lumps that form on the gums, typically in between the teeth. While they are usually caused by excess plaque or an injury, pregnant women tend to get them simply because of hormone fluctuations. They generally go away on their own, these raw, red bumps can be uncomfortable or painful, so in serious cases, your dentist may need to remove them.
How to Protect Your Teeth During Pregnancy
While the four dental health issues listed above are common during pregnancy, it’s still important to discuss any dental health symptoms or changes with your dentist. Also, keeping your teeth healthy during this time will ensure that there won’t be lasting damage or worsening conditions.
- Gently brush your teeth twice a day;
- Reduce sugar intake or rinse your mouth with water after eating something with sugar;
- Floss before you go to bed. If you have bleeding gums, consider using a water flosser.
- Take your prenatal vitamins as they should have minerals that strengthen enamel and help minimize cavities and decay.
- Rinse with warm salt water if your gums feel irritated or tender;
- Keep up with your regular dental checkups (be sure to tell your dentist you’re pregnant so they can customize your visit).
Schedule Your Dental Checkup and Cleaning in Fuquay Varina Today
If you’re pregnant, it’s important to keep up with your regular checkups and teeth cleaning appointments. At our family dentist in Fuquay, we’re dedicated to taking care of our patients, so if you’re pregnant and have concerns about how any procedures can affect you and your baby, feel free to call with questions or ask Dr. Hamby when you’re here. To schedule an appointment, reach out to us today at 919-552-2431 or fill out the form below to get started.