Pregnancy can be the gateway to many dental problems in women including, gum disease and increased risk of tooth decay. For the record, pregnancy doesn’t automatically damage your teeth. If your body is deficient of calcium, her bones – not her teeth- will provide the needed calcium. However, increased hormones can affect your body’s initial response to plaque, and in return make you more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. 

With proper oral hygiene at home and visiting your dentist regularly, you’re sure to keep your teeth healthy throughout pregnancy. 

Dental disease can affect a developing baby

Research has linked gum disease and premature birth with low birth weight. Babies who are born prematurely may risk a range of health conditions including cerebral palsy and problems with eyesight and hearing. A simple visit to your dentist can also help to keep your baby safe and healthy while developing. Some dental insurance companies even recommend it.

Pre-pregnancy dental health

You are far less likely to experience tooth complications if you are already practicing good oral hygiene at home. If you plan to become pregnant be sure to schedule an appointment with your dental provider and treat any concerns your dentist may have. 

Tell your dentist if you are pregnant

Pregnancy may affect your dental care. For example, the dentist may put off taking x-rays until after the birth of your baby. If dental x-rays are unavoidable, the dentist can take precautions to ensure your baby’s safety.

Gum problems

The hormones associated with pregnancy can make some women susceptible to gum problems including:

  • gingivitis (gum inflammation) – this is more likely to occur during the second trimester. Symptoms include swelling of the gums and bleeding, particularly during brushing and when flossing between teeth
  • Untreated periodontal disease – pregnancy may worsen this chronic gum infection, which is caused by untreated gingivitis and can lead to tooth loss

During pregnancy, the gum problems that occur are not due to increased plaque, but a worse response to plaque as a result of increased hormone levels. 

Tell your dentist about any gum problems that you might have. Switch to a softer toothbrush and brush your teeth regularly, at least twice every day. Use toothpaste that like Clinpro that contains fluoride. 

Vomiting can damage teeth

Pregnancy hormones soften the ring of muscle that keeps food inside the stomach. Gastric reflux or the vomiting associated with morning sickness can coat your teeth with strong stomach acids. Repeated reflux and vomiting can damage tooth enamel and increase the risk of decay and erosion. To prevent this:

  • Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting. Your teeth are sensitive directly after from the trauma of the acids, wait a bit to brush your teeth, this will help to prevent scratching of the enamel. Wait about 30-45 minutes before brushing.
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain tap water. 
  • Follow up with a non-alcohol mouthwash that contains fluoride.
  • If you wear a retainer or night guard, sleep with fluoride toothpaste inside of your appliance.