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The Potential Risks For Dental Health During Pregnancy

Pregnant Woman Brushing Teeth

Having a baby on the way is a stressful and exciting time for expectant mothers, and maintaining their health to ensure the delivery of a healthy baby. The hormonal changes can have detrimental effects for the mother, with hunger, mood, and sleep issues just being the tip of the iceberg. These hormones also have an impact on oral structures, and there are known risks associated with pregnancy and periodontal disease. This means that protecting your oral health is more important than ever when you’re pregnant.

The Oral Health/Pregnancy Connection

Within the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research can be found the results of studies exploring the oral health complications associated with women who are pregnant. The inflammation of the gums caused by excess flow to the blood vessels resulting from heightened hormone levels made them particularly susceptible to gingivitis. Known as gestational gingivitis, this condition can set in during the first or second trimester and last until birth. Other risks to oral health resulting from pregnancy include:

  • Enamel: Increased levels of acid in the oral cavity resulting from morning sickness and nausea can contribute to the softening of dental enamel. This can also result in more noticeable levels of sensitivity.

  • Cavities: These same concerns can lead to cavities forming as a result of the weakened enamel. Dental hygiene and maintaining a tooth-healthy diet can be challenging while pregnant as well.

  • Tooth Loss: As gum disease advances, it can cause the gums to separate from the tooth, exposing the roots to decay and making the loss of a tooth more likely.

Periodontal disease caused by complications with the pregnancy is just the beginning. That same periodontal disease can come full circle and result in difficulties with the child’s development and the mother’s health. Premature birth and pre-eclampsia have both been connected to advanced cases of periodontal disease. Given these risks, there are a few tips below that can help you and your baby make it to your delivery in good physical and oral health.

How Mother’s Can Protect Their Teeth While Pregnant

Keeping your teeth healthy during your pregnancy starts with a consistent dental health routine that will keep the risks of developing gingivitis low. You should also be certain that you see your dentist at least twice during your pregnancy just to keep an eye on how things are going. Your dentist will avoid giving you x-rays while you’re carrying a child, though if necessary, the levels of radiation involved are perfectly safe for mother and child alike. You will also be advised to maintain a diet that is high in calcium and to use fluoride bearing mouthwash regularly during your pregnancy. With just a little time, attention, and help from your dentist, you can be sure to end your pregnancy with a smile just as beautiful as the one you started with.

Dr. Shadi Heidarian Heritage Park Dental has diligently served the Palo Alto, Atherton, and San Francisco areas with friendly and effective dental care for more than 12 years under the guidance of Dr. Shadi Heidarian. Every year Dr. Heidarian continues to advance her dentistry expertise to guarantee her patients the latest and most effective treatments.
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