Pregnancy is a natural part of life for women and it comes with a variety of benefits and challenges. When you’re pregnant, hormones are fluctuating wildly, and emotions are often running at an all-time high. One surprising result of these hormonal changes is in how they impact your teeth and gums.
You might’ve heard that pregnancy creates additional challenges for the teeth, unfortunately, it’s the truth. A shocking 60-70% of pregnant women experience pregnancy gingivitis, a version of gum disease brought about by hormonal changes in the body. The result of these hormonal changes is extra plaque, the presence of which wreaks havoc on your mouth, gums, and teeth. While this extra plaque is an added challenge for pregnant women, some awareness and prevention can help keep your mouth healthy.
If you’ve been pregnant for a few months and haven’t noticed changes in your teeth, you’re in the lucky minority. Many pregnant women develop gingivitis, the initial form of gum disease. In case you’re not familiar with what gingivitis looks and feels like, here are some of the key symptoms:
If the symptoms of gingivitis don’t seem that menacing, then you should know that gingivitis is merely the first stage of gum disease. For those who ignore the signs of gingivitis, periodontitis will soon follow, and with it, far more severe symptoms. If your gum disease advances to the periodontitis stage, you could experience:
Although the odds are against your oral health staying perfect when you’re pregnant, there are certain actions you can take to minimize the odds of developing gingivitis. If you’re pregnant, these tips will help you understand your oral condition and to try and get your pregnancy gingivitis under control.
Since it’s inevitable that your hormones are going to increase plaque in your mouth while you’re pregnant, your situation will be much easier to manage if you’re starting with excellent oral health. For that reason, it’s recommended that you fix any dental care issues you have before becoming pregnant.
When you’re pregnant, cravings can seem more intense than ever. But this time is also crucial for keeping your oral care at a high level, so it’s vital to minimize the junk food you consume while pregnant. When you do indulge, brush your teeth promptly so sugars can’t cause further damage to your teeth.
Brushing and flossing twice per day is important for everyone, but it’s extra vital during pregnancy. With hormones causing an increase in plaque on your teeth, it makes sense that extra brushing and rinsing may be in order. Just be sure that you use a soft bristle toothbrush to avoid irreparable damage to your enamel.
While chewing gum may seem like an odd oral health recommendation, gum with xylitol in it actually benefits the teeth. Research shows that chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol in it can reduce the rate of tooth decay. Furthermore, gum stimulates an increase in saliva, which helps wash away debris and equalizes pH in the mouth, preventing cavities.
If you’re pregnant, it’s important to remember that gingivitis is contagious. It’s an unfortunate irony that a disease that can develop just from a patient’s own choices is also contagious, but gingivitis can be transferred via cups, toothbrushes, and other means. It’s best to simply be aware that your gingivitis can quickly become someone else’s problem if you’re not careful.
Featuring two highly qualified and experienced dental providers, the staff at Pleasanton Prosthodontics is passionate about solving your dental problems. Dr. Maggie Chao and Dr. Tran Hoang are both highly-qualified dentists that can give you the treatments you need to keep your oral health at a high standard. Contact our offices in Pleasanton, California to make an appointment or ask us a question today!
Dr. Maggie Chao
1475 Cedarwood Lane Suite C
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Monday: 9AM – 4:30PM
Wednesday: 9AM – 4:30PM
Friday: 9AM – 4:30PM