The Effects of Pregnancy on Your Oral Health

Family Dentist Wayland Coopersville MI

The Effects of Pregnancy on Your Oral Health

Family Dentist Wayland Coopersville MIThis might not be common knowledge, but your oral health can take a turn for the worse during pregnancy. There are a variety of contributing factors including your fluctuating hormones, changes in dietary habits, and others.

However, there are a number of steps you can take to mitigate the damage to your teeth and gums. If you have more questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact Robinson Dental today.

Gingivitis & Periodontitis

Approximately 60 to 75% of pregnant women will experience gingivitis according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This is an early stage of gum disease, the effects of which are reversible. However, this is not true for advanced gum disease known as periodontitis which can lead to bone deterioration and tooth loss.

Tooth Decay

Pregnant women also have a higher likelihood of getting cavities in addition to gum disease, and here’s why. Due to morning sickness, vomiting is more common during pregnancy and this brings up stomach acid that eats away at your teeth.

Another contributing factor is changes in diet and eating habits which are extremely common and to be expected during pregnancy. This can expose your teeth to sugary and acidic foods you weren’t previously eating, but now you’re craving them. Because your teeth are at heightened risk for decay, you should try to avoid foods that are worse for your teeth if possible. These include: 

  • Carbohydrates like crackers, potato chips, and white bread
  • All hard, chewy, and/or sour candy
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Dried and citrus fruits
  • Anything pickled

Your Joints & Jaw

Throughout pregnancy, your joints are one of the many body parts affected by hormonal changes, and this includes your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which connects your jaw to the rest of your skull. You may experience jaw stiffness, tenderness, pain, and/or difficulty chewing. 

If your teeth feel loose or like they’re wiggling, don’t panic. This could be the result of your joints and ligaments loosening up, but it’s always a good idea to check with your dentist to identify the cause. 

The Steps You Can Take

Consulting your dentist and letting them know you’re pregnant and what you’re experiencing is the most important thing you can do when you experience any of these situations. Depending on your specific situation, seeing your dentist more than once every 6 months may be worthwhile so your dentist can help you keep your teeth and gums healthy.

While seeing your dentist is incredibly important, there are multiple steps you can take at home to maintain your oral health. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is recommended, but don’t brush immediately after vomiting because you may brush away some weakened enamel. It’s best to rinse your mouth out with water and then use a fluoride mouthwash.

Contact Us Today

Due to a number of changes, your teeth and gums are more vulnerable during pregnancy. At Robinson Dental, we work to provide the highest quality service to help you protect and restore your oral health. To schedule an appointment, call our office in Wayland at (269) 509-4155 or our Coopersville office at (616) 384-4129.