Pregnancy can be a memorable time in a woman’s life. From the time she conceives to when she’s in labor, she has to look out for tons of things. For example, her diet, sleep habits, and exercise regime are just a few of them. Another important aspect of pregnancy is hospital visits, also known as doctor’s appointments. Sure, every pregnant woman knows that it’s important to meet with her doctor and not miss any appointments because every scheduled visit is crucial. Ultrasounds, heartbeat checks, fetal growth tracking, and any other health-related assessment is monitored during these doctor’s visits. However, there are some things that pregnant women might overlook, and that is dentist appointments. Keep reading to find out what we’re talking about.
Your body is surging with hormones during pregnancy. The fluctuations in hormones can have different effects on your body, leading to a series of issues. Mood swings, backache, sore breasts, and swollen feet are just a few of them. Pregnancy hormones also affect gums and teeth, leading to gum disease and tooth decay (1). Therefore, it’s essential to visit your dentist to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible while you are pregnant.
Dental Problems During Pregnancy
Hormonal changes during pregnancy are the primary cause of dental issues. Let’s understand the possible dental problems that may arise during pregnancy. Scroll below to find out:
Gingivitis – A condition that is most likely to occur during the second trimester of pregnancy is the infection of the gums. It causes swelling of the gums and bleeding that occurs during brushing and flossing. Plaque starts to layer itself on your teeth, either because of poor oral hygiene or like in this case, hormonal changes due to pregnancy. This transparent and sticky layer of slime is infused with bacteria and long-term accumulation results in gingivitis. If not taken care of properly, the plaque will transform into tartar that will eventually be almost impossible to clean on your own. It will start causing discomfort to your gums and the only way out would be to visit the dentist and get it removed.
Periodontal Disease – If gingivitis is not treated, it could lead to further complications and cause periodontal disease, which can even cause tooth loss. The condition is caused by the infection of the structure that supports teeth which includes gums, ligaments, and bones. This particular gum infection or disease causes damage to the tissue that connects your teeth to the gum. In worst cases, it destroys the bone and results in tooth loss. To prevent that from happening in the first place, you should take extra care of your teeth while pregnant. Make it a habit to brush day and night and practice flossing for any food particles likely to get stuck. It will indirectly affect your child’s health if you assume it will disappear or get healed on its own.
Pyogenic Granuloma – A pregnancy epulis, also known as a pyogenic granuloma, is a condition that originates from the gingival tissues. It bleeds easily and appears red and inflamed but is generally not painful. It is basically a blood-filled nodule that bleeds but without any pain. However, it doesn’t mean you will end up neglecting it. This condition is also called pregnancy tumor. But you don’t have to worry about serious surgeries and there is no potential for these bulb-like growths to cause any life-threatening issue. It can cause discomfort, and that is when you turn to the doctor and get it surgically removed. Sometimes, a few nodules drop out on their own and don’t need a doctor’s help.
Why Are Dental Appointments During Pregnancy Important?
Apart from taking care of yourself and having healthy teeth and gums, poor oral health can adversely affect your baby. Research suggests that severe gum disease in pregnant women is linked to preterm birth and low birth weight. Babies born prematurely have a higher risk of developing hearing and eyesight problems as well as brain injury.
One study found that close to 18 out of 100 babies born prematurely could be linked to gum disease, also known as periodontal disease (1). Another study suggested that nearly 60-75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, which occurs in the early stages of periodontal disease. It affects the gums, leading to inflammation, which results in red and swollen gums. Usually, these changes occur because of the changing pregnancy hormones (2).
Moreover, your baby’s teeth start to develop during the third to sixth months of pregnancy. Therefore, visit your dentist and follow the proper diet to preserve your baby’s teeth health. You might have difficulty brushing properly during pregnancy due to strong gag reflexes, so switching to a smaller toothbrush might help your case. You could also switch to different flavors of toothpaste and find one that suits you (3). Dentists will always advise eating foods that are not sensitive to your teeth, no matter how much you crave super spicy foods, chilled ice cream, soda, and other sweets when you are pregnant. In fact, to avoid side effects to your baby’s health, it is important to steer clear of any disease-causing substance.
If you suffer from morning sickness, constant vomiting can also contribute to poor teeth health. The strong stomach acids that come out while throwing up can damage your enamel and increase the risk of decay. Some pregnant women have a bigger gagging tendency which causes way too much vomiting. As a result, not only will it affect your teeth and gums, but cause weakness and deficiency which is the last thing you want to happen while carrying a living human in your womb. If you already have fragile health, it is crucial that you take extra care of your health.
As long as you take care of your oral health and visit the dentist during your pregnancy, you will be okay. Learning all this information might scare you, but with the right guidance and prevention, you will get through it without complications. Did you know that dental visits during pregnancy are important? Let us know in the comments below.
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