Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?

October 8, 2021 Jeffrey T. Baker, DDS PC

Whether you know or not, pregnancy can have an effect on your oral health. That’s due to the fact that your hormones are constantly changing and cravings are kicking in. This, in turn, can put your teeth at greater risk of being damaged or decayed. Fortunately, our Shelby Township, MI, dentists can help you navigate this time in your life.

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Here are some of the potential oral health issues that are common during pregnancy and what you can do about them.

1. Gum Disease

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 60- 75% of pregnant women will experience gingivitis. This is an early stage of gum disease which is thankfully reversible. However, if left unchecked, gingivitis can progress into a more advanced form, periodontitis, which can lead to bone deterioration and tooth loss.

If you notice red, inflamed, or easily bleeding gums, please schedule a time to come into our Shelby Township dental office. Our dentists will take a look and determine what stage, if any, of gum disease that you’re dealing with so it can be treated ASAP.

2. Cavities

In addition to gum disease, pregnant women also have a higher likelihood of getting cavities. This is for a number of reasons. First, due to morning sickness, vomiting is more common during pregnancy and this brings up stomach acid that eats away at your tooth enamel.

Second, changes in diet and eating habits during pregnancy are extremely common and to be expected. 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 eat healthier foods when possible.

Our dentists recommend limiting your consumption of:

  • Fruit-flavored drinks, juice, or soda
  • Sweets (candy, cookies, cake)
  • Dried and citrus fruits
  • Other foods high in sugar

We understand that cravings sometimes show up unannounced. However, it’s still important to indulge responsibly. Remember to also brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once daily to keep your smile healthy.

3. Jaw Pain

Your joints are one of the many body parts affected by the hormonal changes throughout pregnancy, and this includes your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which connects your jaw to the rest of your skull. Issues with this area can cause jaw stiffness, tenderness, pain, and/or difficulty chewing.

You may also feel your teeth wiggling or just loose. This could be the result of your joints and ligaments loosening up, but it’s always a good idea to check with our dentists to identify the cause.

What You Can Do For Your Smile

The most important thing you can do when you experience any of these situations is to consult our dentists, let them know you’re pregnant, and what you’re experiencing. Depending on your specific situation, being seen by our dentists more than once every 6 months may be worthwhile. That way, we can keep a closer eye on potential issues.

Brushing your teeth may upset your body and potentially make you gag. It might be the flavor of your toothpaste or how much it foams up. You can try a different flavor and brand to see if that helps. Also, flossing and using a fluoride mouthwash become more important during pregnancy because both of these will reach areas that your toothbrush may miss.

Schedule an Appointment

Dental care is especially important during pregnancy because your teeth and gums are at increased risk of decay and disease. To request an appointment with our dentists in Shelby Township, MI, call the dental office of Jeffrey T. Baker DDS PC at (586) 992-9222. We’d be more than happy to help you find relief for what you’re going through.

This blog post has been updated.

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