pregnant woman at dentist

How Pregnancy Impacts Oral Health

Sometimes, it can seem like there’s no part of your body which goes affected by pregnancy. Studies show that pregnancy impacts nearly every bodily system, and your oral health is no exception. What can you do to ensure your mouth stays healthy throughout pregnancy?

How Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?

Oral health is the term we use to refer to the health of your teeth and gums. In general, pregnancy can affect your oral health because of the way pregnancy raises your overall blood volume, as well as the increased amount of hormones in your blood. In addition, your blood is more acidic during pregnancy, which can affect the environment within your mouth.

Commonly, these oral health issues may occur more frequently, or be more severe, during pregnancy:

  • Gingivitis. Made worse by increased progesterone levels, this inflammation of the gums can lead to swollen, bleeding and sore gums.
  • Loose teeth. Attributed to progesterone, and estrogen loosened teeth can be released further by the bones and ligaments meant to hold them.
  • Gum disease. Swollen gums and infections of the gums, bones, and ligaments that hold teeth can lead to further loosened teeth.
  • Tooth decay. Acidic conditions, harmful bacteria, and sugar in your mouth typically cause tooth decay. Since your blood is more acidic than normal, conditions in your mouth are perfect for creating tooth decay. In addition, excess vomiting due to morning sickness further coats your teeth in acidic substances.
  • Pregnancy tumors. Excess plaque may cause these bumps that can form on affected gums. These tumors are not usually harmful but sometimes require surgical removal after pregnancy.

How Can I Improve My Oral Health?

There is a correlation between gum disease and early birth, and pregnancy can make it more difficult to keep your mouth healthy. Follow these tips to maintain your oral health:

  • Continue to brush and floss twice per day or after meals, and particularly after bouts of morning sickness. Take care to be gentle on sensitive gums.
  • Drink plenty of water to combat dry mouth or unhealthy environments in the mouth.
  • Continue to receive your regularly scheduled dental cleanings.
  • Proceed with any regularly scheduled dental x-rays, which doctors no longer consider dangerous during pregnancy.
  • If possible, wait until the second trimester for any procedure involving anesthesia, which may be associated with first trimester miscarriage.

You’ll likely need to take some extra care to remain healthy during pregnancy. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure you have a healthy baby as well as a healthy mouth. For more information, contact your dentist or the professionals at Women’s Medical Associates of Nashville.