Pregnancy affects so many aspects of a woman’s life, including many she does not expect. A healthy mouth and teeth can provide protections that decrease the likelihood of a low birth-weight baby and even reduce the risk of pre-term delivery. It is a good idea to schedule a regular cleaning and check-up before you get pregnant. If that’s not possible, visit your Abbotsford dentist during your first trimester for a cleaning and oral health check.
Let’s look at common conditions that may appear or worsen during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Related Gingivitis: Similar Symptoms, Different Causes
Gum disease is the result of excess bacteria under the gum line. Mouth health relies on a balance of good and bad bacteria. Pregnancy can affect your immune system and upset this balance. Hormone levels, particularly an increase in progesterone, can also allow certain bad bacteria to build up.
Rinsing with warm salt water can help with irritation. Be sure to brush twice a day, for at least two minutes, and floss daily. An anti-microbial mouthwash can help control inflammation and the associated bleeding as is common with gingivitis. Regular dental cleanings can help deter gingivitis during pregnancy. Pregnancy gingivitis tends to fade away after you give birth.
Enamel Erosion and Morning Sickness
Many women experience varying degrees of morning sickness. It’s a good idea to contact your dentist if you experience frequent vomiting. The enamel on the back of the front teeth is particularly susceptible. Contrary to popular practice, you should not brush immediately after you vomit. Acids in the vomit will actually do more harm to the enamel. Instead, try rinsing with baking soda and water, or a mouthwash that reduces the pH in your mouth before you brush.
Pregnancy Granuloma Sounds Scarier Than It Is
Sometimes referred to as a pregnancy tumor or pyogenic granuloma, these are red nodules that appear in the mouth, especially near the gum line. These can cause discomfort, but they are not actually tumors at all. A narrow stalk of tissue connects the granuloma to the gum or mucous membrane. Irritation is common when they bleed and crust over. It is possible to remove them during pregnancy, but about half will return.
Too Little or Too Much Saliva is Common
If dry mouth is a problem, chew sugarless gum or suck on hard candy that contains xylitol to boost saliva production and provide relief. Xylitol also helps by reducing the effects of harmful bacteria in the mouth. Drinking plenty of water also helps with comfort. Early in the pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, excess saliva production may occur. It is thought that nausea is the big culprit.
How Can I Keep My Teeth Healthy During Pregnancy?
Give the team at Clayburn Dental in Abbotsford, BC a call to schedule a check-up during your first trimester to get you on the right track. Other tips include using a fluoride toothpaste to brush at least twice a day, then following up with an anti-microbial rinse to keep bacteria in check. Chew sugarless gum containing xylitol to help combat an increase in the bad bacteria caused by hormonal fluctuations and changes in the immune system.