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CAVITIES & STRONG TEETH

How Pregnancy Affects Your Teeth, Gums, and Overall Oral Health

Pregnancy is a time of significant change and adaptation in a woman's body, and oral health is no exception. During pregnancy, elevated hormone levels can increase your susceptibility to oral health issues.1 Common dental ailments, such as cavities and gum diseases, may not only emerge but also intensify during this period.1

Pregnancy and oral health

Common Dental Problems While Pregnant

Tooth Pain During Pregnancy

The common causes of tooth pain include cavities and gum disease.2 During pregnancy, the likelihood of experiencing tooth pain may increase due to changes in eating habits, morning sickness leading to increased acid in the mouth,1 and heightened blood flow causing sensitive gums.3

To help prevent tooth pain during pregnancy, it is essential to maintain a good oral hygiene routine.4 It is also advisable to rinse the mouth with water and baking soda after episodes of morning sickness to neutralize acid levels in the mouth.1 To soothe a toothache, home remedies, such as rinsing with warm salt water, or applying a cold press to the outside of your cheek may provide temporary relief.2

Tooth Loss While Pregnant

Tooth loss during pregnancy is another significant concern due to potential impacts of hormonal changes on the woman’s oral health. Due to dietary changes, higher acidity levels in the mouth, and hormonal fluctuations, pregnant women may face an increased risk of tooth decay and loss.4

To help prevent tooth loss during pregnancy, it is essential to maintain good oral hygiene practices and adhere to regular dental check-ups and cleanings.4 Additionally, mineral and vitamin deficiencies, particularly in calcium and vitamin D, can affect dental health during pregnancy. Therefore, maintaining a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is important to help prevent tooth decay and loss.7

Pregnancy Gingivitis (Gum Disease)

Red, swollen, or tender gums are a common issue during pregnancy, often referred to as pregnancy gingivitis, or a mild form of gum disease. The surge in hormones is a key contributor to this condition, leading to increased blood flow to the gum tissues and a decreased ability of the body to respond to plaque bacteria.3

To help manage and prevent gingivitis during pregnancy, maintaining good oral hygiene is essential. Brushing after eating sticky, sweet foods is important to help prevent plaque build-up. Maintaining a diet with reduced sugar intake and ensuring consistent dental check-ups are key practices to stop gingivitis from developing into more serious periodontal disease.3

Preventing Oral Health Issues During Pregnancy

Getting regular dental checkups before and during pregnancy is essential.5 Only 22-34% of women in the United States seek dental consultation during this critical period.4 This neglect can lead to serious implications, as some data have shown that children born to mothers with untreated cavities or tooth loss are three times more likely to develop cavities.8

Additionally, it is crucial to maintain robust oral hygiene.4 Follow a comprehensive 3-step oral care routine that includes brushing twice daily, flossing regularly, and rinsing with a mouthwash to prevent dental issues.

Ensure you consult a dentist promptly if you encounter any oral health issues during pregnancy. Inform your dentist about your pregnancy to receive safe and appropriate care. Regular dental visits are important for maintaining oral health during pregnancy, which is vital for protecting the well-being of both the mother and child.8

Pregnancy and Oral Health FAQs

Can You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed While Pregnant?

The quick answer is Yes. However, it is generally advised to postpone non-emergency dental procedures until after pregnancy. If the procedure is urgent due to severe pain or infection, it may be performed during the second trimester using precautions to ensure the safety of both mother and baby.4

Can You Get A Cavity Filled While Pregnant?

Dental professionals take special precautions during pregnancy, using safe techniques and materials to protect both the mother and the baby, and it is also safe to use local anesthetics during these procedures.1

References

  1. American Dental Association. Pregnancy. Retrieved from: https://www.ada.org/resources/ada-library/oral-health-topics/pregnancy

  2. Cleveland Clinic. Toothache: Causes, Symptoms & Remedies. Retrieved from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10957-toothache

  3. Cleveland Clinic. Pregnancy Gingivitis: Causes, Treatment & Prevention. Retrieved from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22484-pregnancy-gingivitis

  4. Silk H, Douglass AB, Douglass JM, Silk L. Oral Health During Pregnancy. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77(8):1139-1144.

  5. WebMD. Dental Care Before, During, and After Pregnancy. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-care-pregnancy

  6. Cleveland Clinic. Sensitive Teeth: Causes, Remedies & Treatments Available. Retrieved from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/10954-teeth-sensitivity

  7. Grant WB. High Vitamin D and Calcium Requirements During Pregnancy and Tooth Loss. Am J Public Health. 2008;98(11):1931-1932. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2008.144451

  8. CDC. Pregnancy and Oral Health. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/features/pregnancy-and-oral-health.html