Understanding the Effect of Pregnancy on Oral Health

Oral Warning Signs During Pregnancy

Now that you are pregnant and are preparing for the arrival of your baby, you are probably hounded by a thousand and one things to do. Your health and that of your baby are your prime concerns. This is the time you ought to think about your oral health because the health of your teeth and gums can be linked to your baby’s health.

Pregnancy can affect your teeth and gums leading to conditions like gingivitis, bleeding gums and sensitive teeth can appear and ultimately influence the health of your baby. You must know the warning signs to be able to manage your mouth health especially during this time.

Elevated hormones trigger the body through incredible changes, helping the development of your baby. However, some of these hormonal changes also affect the tissues in the mouth.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

More than 60% of pregnant women develop pregnancy gingivitis, an early swelling and infection of the gums aggravated by the changing hormones. However, pregnancy per se does not cause gingivitis; it can be aggravated if there is a pre-existing condition. If untreated, it can proceed to periodontitis, characterized by bone and tissue destruction, and ultimately loss of the teeth. Poor pregnancy outcomes can also result from untreated periodontitis, including preterm birth and low birth weight.

During pregnancy, gums may also bleed which is also a symptom of pregnancy gingivitis. This is again due to the hormonal changes that encourage bacterial growth in the mouth, making gums sensitive to brushing or cleaning.

Due to changes in behavior, eating habits of pregnant women make them a risk for cavities. They tend to have more cavity-causing bacteria in their mouth that can be transmitted to the mouth of their babies. If babies born of these pregnancies are introduced to early snacking of sugary foods, or have long contact with their feeding bottles, they tend to develop early childhood cavities. This can also lead to extensive dental care in early life.

Morning sickness is also caused by elevated hormones and vomiting is a common symptom. The acidic content in the vomit can damage tooth enamel causing brittleness. This can make teeth extra sensitive, eroding the outer enamel leading to tooth sensitivity. Likewise, changes in the composition of saliva in around late pregnancy and even during lactation may temporarily predispose to caries and erosion.


Learning More from our Bellevue Dentists

For more information regarding your oral health while you are expecting, visit your Bellevue dentist here at Overlake Dental.