Pregnancy throws up a few extra dental health risks, but you do not have to resign yourself to having bad teeth simply because you want to have your own kids. Here are the three biggest dental health issues that pregnant women face and how to deal with each of them.
1. Gum disease
During pregnancy, women’s levels of the hormone progesterone are higher than usual. This hormone can cause gum tissue to become inflamed more easily in response to the presence of dental plaque on teeth, leading to a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis.
Look out for signs of gingivitis, such as swollen, sore or bleeding gums, while you are pregnant. See your dentist if you suffer from these symptoms so that he or she can offer advice to help keep your gums healthy throughout your pregnancy.
2. Acid erosion
Unfortunately, many pregnant women experience morning sickness. Frequent vomiting can wreak havoc on your teeth, so you need to take extra care to minimise its effects. Rinsing with baking soda in water after you vomit can help to reduce the amount of time that acid spends in contact with your teeth. You should also see your doctor for advice if your morning sickness is severe.
3. Dental procedures
It’s a myth that you cannot have any dental procedures carried out during pregnancy. Routine and emergency dental work can be safely performed, preferably during the second trimester, so do not put off seeing the dentist. However, your dentist will probably advise leaving cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening until after the pregnancy, simply as a precaution to minimise your baby’s exposure to chemicals that you might ingest during the procedure.
If you need advice about dental health during pregnancy, or at any other time, ask your dentist to address any questions you have. Dentists can offer advice to help all patients care for their teeth and protect their oral health, regardless of what else is going on in their lives.