Congratulations on your exciting baby news! Your body is now about to go through the biggest change, bringing new life into the world. The journey to motherhood is a magical one but not only does it affect a mom’s physical and emotional wellbeing, you might not know that pregnancy can also impact oral health. Due to the increased hormones, women are more vulnerable to plaque, gum disease, tooth cavities and strong teeth sensitivity.
In this article, we are going to discuss the most common problems which can occur with women’s oral health in pregnancy, what causes these affects and how moms-to-be can maintain good oral hygiene whilst they are expecting. Take a look!
Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?
Yes, the hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy can have various impacts on the gums and teeth. Being pregnant puts moms-to-be at a higher risk of gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, and poor oral hygiene.
When a woman is expecting, the changes in the female’s hormones can increase plaque, gum inflammation and bleeding. It can also affect the way the body responds to bacteria, which can lead to ‘Pregnancy Gingivitis’, a type of gum disease which can cause sore, sensitive teeth.
Why Does Pregnancy Impact A Woman’s Oral Health?
1 - Hormone Changes and Gum Inflammation
The main reason why pregnancy can impact a woman’s oral health is primarily due to the hormone changes. During pregnancy, a woman will experience elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone, which can affect how the body responds to bacteria in the mouth, which can cause inflamed gums and teeth plaque.
These fluctuations in hormone levels can make pregnant women more prone to developing gum problems such as:
Gingivitis - Pregnancy gingivitis’ causes gum inflammation which includes symptoms such as swollen, tender and bleeding gums, especially during brushing or flossing.
Periodontal Disease - If pregnancy gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into a more advanced condition called Periodontal Disease. This causes serious infection in the gums which can lead to major problems with the bone and ligaments which surround the teeth.
Pregnancy Epulis or Pyogenic Granuloma - These are also known as ‘pregnancy tumors’ which appear as red, lumpy lesions which form on the gums, between the teeth. They are not cancerous but can bleed easily and are caused by excessive plaque. They usually go away by themselves after the woman has given birth.
2- Increased Blood Flow
During pregnancy, there is an increase in blood flow throughout the body, including the gums. This increased blood supply can lead to the gums becoming more sensitive and more susceptible to inflammation and irritation.
3 - Eating Habits
In pregnancy, women may eat more of certain foods than they did before. For example, craving higher amounts of sugary foods can lead to dental health problems. Sugary foods may increase your risk of tooth decay so it is best to avoid them. Choosing a healthier option, such a fresh fruit instead. Then make sure to rinse your mouth with mouthwash containing fluoride and brush your teeth after having sugary snacks.
4 - Vomiting
Morning sickness is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms, however the acid in vomit can weaken your teeth. Gastric reflux is another similar symptom of pregnancy that can cover your teeth with strong stomach acids. This can cause damage to your teeth, leading to problems such as cavities and decay. To maintain good oral hygiene, avoid brushing your teeth straight away as vomiting softens the enamel, so just rinse your mouth and then brush later on.
How Moms-To-Be Can Maintain Good Oral Health
Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is essential not only for the mother's well-being but also for the overall health of the developing baby. Here are some tips for moms-to-be to ensure they maintain good oral health throughout their pregnancy:
- Regular Dental Check-Ups - It is important to attend the dentist early on in your pregnancy to ensure that any existing dental issues are addressed and to rule out any new oral health problems.
- Practice Excellent Oral Hygiene - Maintaining best oral hygiene practices is key in preventing dental problems during pregnancy. From brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, using a soft-bristle toothbrush, flossing daily and using an antiseptic mouthwash.
- Managing Morning Sickness - If you are suffering with morning sickness, it is important to rinse your mouth with water or fluoride mouthwash after vomiting to help neutralize stomach acids and to avoid brushing your teeth immediately.
- Healthy and Balanced Diet - Sticking to a healthy and balanced diet ensures that expecting moms get the essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D which play a key role in the development of babys’ teeth and bones. Limiting sugary snacks and acidic foods will also help to prevent tooth decay. Opting for fruit, vegetables and dairy products is best.
- Stay Hydrated - Drinking plenty of fluid helps great in preventing dry mouth, which can increase risk of tooth decay. Chewing gum can also be useful in alleviating dry mouth symptoms.
Discover Rumbly’s Pregnancy Care Boxes
We’re proud to be stockists of Rumbly who design modern pregnancy gifts and subscription boxes that are filled with thoughtfully curated products for both the woman you are and the mom you’re becoming. Inside their subscription box, you’ll find a variety of pamper goodies and hospital bag essentials, including some of our very own sustainable oral care products. Treat yourself to one today and give your mouth the oral care routine it needs and experience a more positive pregnancy.
We hope that this guide has helped answer your questions surrounding Oral Health in Pregnancy. If you would like more information on this topic, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team. We’d love to hear from you!