When you are pregnant, your whole body changes. From swelling feet to hair loss, pregnancy is full of surprises. The thing most women don’t realize is that their mouths will also change during pregnancy. It is important for expectant mothers to track changes in their mouths and keep an eye out for abnormalities. If you are pregnant, here’s what to expect:
Approximately 40% of pregnant women experience some degree of periodontal disease, including pregnancy gingivitis, benign oral lesions, tooth erosion, etc..
Pregnancy gingivitis results from a surge in progesterone, a pregnancy hormone. Progesterone causes your gums to overreact to plaque, resulting in red, swollen, and sensitive gums that are prone to bleeding. If left untreated, pregnancy gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more severe oral infection. Furthermore, “the bacteria from gingivitis can travel through the bloodstream and to the uterus, which triggers the production of chemicals suspected to cause premature labor.”
Though morning sickness varies among women, if you experience any vomiting, you should immediately rinse your mouth. “Strong stomach acids pass through our mouths when we vomit, and these acids are extremely corrosive to our teeth. If not cleaned properly, these acids can damage teeth enamel and cause noticeable decay.”
To avoid acid erosion as much as possible, you might consider rinsing with a water + baking soda mixture. Dentists advise you to rinse before brushing to avoid spreading stomach acid with your toothbrush.
You can fend off stomach acid damage and gingivitis bacteria by chewing sugar-free gum throughout the day. Chewing gum will increase the production of saliva, the body’s natural defense against oral bacteria. Saliva neutralizes the acids produced by bacteria and helps clean away food particles.
Benign oral gingival lesions, aka pregnancy tumors, are a heightened response to oral bacteria. Like pregnancy gingivitis, these tumors are a temporary response to pregnancy that affects 10% of pregnant women. These tumors are noncancerous tissue growths that grow along the gumline. Most affected women develop these bumps during their second trimester. After birth, these tumors will typically disappear on their own. If the discomfort caused by these tumors is too much, dentists can remove them.
Women often wonder what extent of dental care is appropriate during their pregnancy. Pregnancy is a time in life where oral care is critical! You should seek the professional advice of oral experts if you experience any discomfort. Alert your dentist and schedule regular cleanings throughout the duration of your pregnancy.
At Greenspoint Dental, we are here to help throughout your pregnancy. Call (281) 823-9987 for more information!