Hormones and Your Mouth: Pregnancy

You have had every lecture imaginable on what pregnancy is doing to your body and what you should be doing. The lists seem never-ending, and the advice will not stop pouring in. Nevertheless, you should make a little time to give your mouth some extra care (between bouts of morning sickness). Pregnancy is rife with discomfort, but your dentist can keep your smile beautiful for that precious moment when your baby is born.

Some women may develop pregnancy gingivitis. Although pregnancy is temporary, the effects of gingivitis may not be. On top of the other symptoms of pregnancy, red, swollen gums may not seem noticeable or especially serious. If it is left untreated, your mild form of gum disease can develop into a more serious condition, like cavities or periodontitis. Talk to your dentist, so it does not get to that point.

Keep on top of your oral hygiene. In addition to the potential for gingivitis, the stomach acids from your morning sickness or acid reflux are damaging your teeth and soft tissues as well. Brushing regularly can help reduce the amount of acid in your mouth.

The taste of your toothpaste and the feeling of a brush in your mouth may be making you gag. Try out a different toothpaste. Consider something with a more mild flavor. Go to the store and find a brush with a smaller head. Whatever you have to do, try to make brushing as comfortable (and gag-free) as possible, so you can keep up with your routines.

Attend your regular cleanings, and consider scheduling an additional one. Is it safe? (Are you sick of this question yet?) Yes! Tell your dentist upfront that you are pregnant, and the office will take every necessary precaution. More importantly, report any concerns to your dentist immediately.

No matter what you are experiencing during your pregnancy, dental hygiene is an investment in health that can last long after your baby grows up.