Congratulations! Having a child is one of the most gratifying experiences in a woman’s life! We’re always delighted to learn that a staff member or patient is bringing a new little person into the world! While we know you’re incredibly busy these days, taking care of your teeth during pregnancy is an important part of your total experience!
While we’re sure you have ceased any intake of tobacco or alcohol during your pregnancy, have you given any thought to your dental care while you’re expecting? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) published a report stating pregnant women are at a higher risk for gingivitis, dental decay and erosion, and periodontitis, which can negative affect your baby and, of course, your dental health.
When you’re expecting, your body has an increased inflammatory response to the plaque on your teeth, due to your increased level of the hormone progesterone. Therefore, you have a higher risk of developing gingivitis than do non-pregnant women. Although this phenomenon peaks during the third trimester, it’s unwise to ignore any bleeding or swelling in the gums, as gingivitis can create a low level bacterial infection in your blood. Further, if you have had gum disease in the past, you are even more prone than the average pregnant woman to experiencing it again.
Tooth Mobility During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, as your body “loosens up” some of your ligaments in preparation for childbearing, the bones and ligaments that support your teeth can also loosen. This results in a feeling that the teeth feel loose, which is pretty disturbing to most women! While tooth loss does not normally occur, this feeling of looseness in your teeth is something to be aware of and to bring to our attention if it concerns you.
Dental Erosion During Pregnancy
Morning sickness is no fun for any expectant mother. Unfortunately, if you’re experiencing morning sickness, it’s wise to keep in mind that the gastric acid can eat away at your dental enamel. We suggest rinsing your mouth with a solution made of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water. Don’t swallow it; just rinse it through your mouth and rinse again with clear water afterwards.
Increased Cavities During Pregnancy
The extra acid in your mouth, the tendency to crave more sugary foods, and the fact that your mind is on other things, can lead to an increase in cavities during pregnancy. To avoid this, be sure to brush and floss every time you eat. If that’s inconvenient, rinse with water after eating or drinking, to rinse away as much of the sugars as possible.
We hope your pregnancy goes smoothly, and that you experience no dental problems during it. However, please continue to see us every six months, brush and floss as often as you can, and take care of yourself!
To your health & beauty,
Jeffrey Shapiro, DDS, PC and Glenn Chiarello, DDS
NYC Cosmetic Dentists