If you’re currently pregnant or expecting, we at Dentistry of Nashville want to extend a hearty congratulations to your new bundle of joy! It’s an exciting time in your life, welcoming a new addition to your family. But along with bodily changes, you’ll experience some oral health changes as well. This is quite normal, but if you don’t care for your teeth during the course of your pregnancy, it could result in consequences. Read along to learn more about how you can best care for your smile during pregnancy here in Nashville, TN.
Changes in Hormones
Obviously, you can predict that you body will change in shape as your baby grows. But this goes doubly so for your hormone levels as well. Mothers-to-be can expect an increase in estrogen and progesterone, among other hormone level increases. As this is going on, it’s important to be aware of any changes in sensitivity or appearance in your gums or teeth.
Gum sensitivity is a common affliction during pregnancy, mostly as a result of plaque build-up from “pregnancy gingivitis” (which you can read more about below). If you don’t change your oral health care habits, this could result in irritated or bleeding gums, and also “pregnancy tumors” which are growths in the gums as a result of severe gingivitis.
One other symptom of pregnancy that could affect your oral health is morning sickness. If there’s a constant presence of stomach acids washing over your teeth, this could easily erode your teeth. Be sure to wash your mouth out with water after experiencing morning sickness, and brush your teeth as well.
Can Your Oral Health Affect the Baby’s Health?
It’s not unusual for a pregnant woman to be motivated into being healthier and becoming more aware of what’s going in their body. You change your habits, change your diet, or change your routine to accommodate the pregnancy. This includes being more conscious of changes in your oral health, which can have a positive influence on your baby.
However, according to recent studies, there is a possible link between gingivitis and premature birth weight. Researchers are investigating whether bacteria from a woman’s gingivitis that travels through their bloodstream is responsible for inducing labor early.
One way you can prevent this is to simply keep gingivitis from taking over your smile. Keep up on frequent brushing and flossing. If flavored toothpaste is triggering your morning sickness, switch to a bland toothpaste, and rinse your mouth with water.
Maintain Frequent Check-Ups
Due to the research indicating possible links between pregnancy gingivitis and low birth weight, we encourage patients to continue visiting us throughout the course of their pregnancy, at least once per trimester recommended. This way you can get the hygiene cleanings you need and we can monitor any negative effects on your teeth.
While we offer a variety of cosmetic and restorative treatments, we do not recommend pregnant patients for any of these procedures until after their baby is born. However, exceptions can be made around the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy for non-invasive procedures, but it’s best to speak with your OB/GYN before proceeding with a treatment.
Contact Us for Questions On Dental Care
Here at Dentistry of Nashville, we welcome any questions that our expecting patients have about dental care during their pregnancy, and we will be happy to schedule you for routine cleanings and check-ups. Contact us today to consult with Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming.