Oral Health during Pregnancy

Pregnancy causes hormonal changes, increasing your risk for developing oral health problems like gingivitis and periodontitis or even pregnancy complications. Learn more about how to maintain the health of you and your unborn baby.

Oral health is important during pregnancy for several reasons:

Pregnancy hormones:

During pregnancy there is an increase of estrogen and progesterone hormones causing an increase in blood flow to your gums. This causes the gums to become more sensitive to plaque build-up leading to inflammation and bleeding. This can increase the risk of gum disease (gingivitis). If left untreated it is believed the bacteria which causes inflammation in the gums can get into the bloodstream and travel to the developing baby, which may cause birth problems down the track.

Tooth decay:

The risk of tooth decay increases during pregnancy due to the following reasons. More frequent eating or snacking; this can change the pH levels in your mouth. If the pH levels decrease frequently then the breakdown of enamel is seen leading to tooth decay. Pro tip: after eating especially anything sugary or acidic, consider rinsing your mouth with water afterwards to help bring the pH levels back up. Gastric acids from morning sickness/ vomiting and reflux can also drastically weaken the enamel contributing to erosion and breakdown leading to tooth decay. It is important to not brush teeth immediately after vomiting. It is good to wait for about 30 minutes before brushing teeth. Instead rinse immediately with water.

Good oral health can improve overall health:

Good oral health can improve overall health and well-being during pregnancy, reducing the risk of complications and helping to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery. A dental examination before you plan to become pregnant will allow identification and treatment of teeth and gum problems beforehand. Otherwise a check-up during pregnancy is advisable to help you maintain good oral health, particularly if you have any symptoms of gum disease.

Maintaining good oral health can prevent future problems:

It is important for pregnant women to take care of their oral health by brushing and flossing regularly and eating a balanced diet. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings during pregnancy can help identify and treat oral health problems early, before they become more serious. This can help prevent future problems and ensure good oral health for both the mother and the developing foetus.

Pregnancy and Oral Health Feature | CDC

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