Smiling for two: Oral Health & Pregnancy - Semidey Dental
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Smiling for two: Oral Health & Pregnancy

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW...

Motherhood is a smiling matter

You took a pregnancy test and finally see that positive result. Congratulations! For many this may be a major surprise and many others this test may be following a long journey of obstacles. Wherever you fall on this spectrum, you’re about to become a symptom researching master! As a recent mom and dentist, let me help you with a little insight into dental health and the effects of pregnancy. 

Given my years of training in dentistry, I remember thinking instantly that with this positive test came a higher risk for gum disease and weakening of my teeth. At the same time it made me think about all the other expecting moms and the importance of education for our new vulnerable population- mom to be. As if growing a baby isn’t hard enough! We have some dental challenges to keep in mind, but fear not! We’re here to help!

Pregnancy is an incredible journey that brings joy and excitement into the lives of expectant mothers. However, it also comes with a host of physical and hormonal changes with profound impacts on our oral health. Dental disease during pregnancy is a common concern, and understanding its effects and prevention strategies is vital for the well-being of both mother and baby.

The Link between Pregnancy and Dental Disease:

During pregnancy, hormonal shifts can lead to an increased risk of developing dental diseases such as gum disease and tooth decay. The surge in hormone levels affects the body’s response to oral bacteria, making pregnant women more susceptible to oral health problems. Additionally, pregnancy can exacerbate existing dental issues, as morning sickness and cravings for sugary foods may contribute to tooth decay. Neglecting oral health during this time can lead to severe consequences, including pregnancy complications and potential harm to the developing baby.

 

Potential Risks and Complications:

  1. Gum Disease: Hormonal changes can cause pregnancy gingivitis, characterized by tender, swollen, and bleeding gums. If left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, a more severe gum infection that involves the bone and structure that support teeth. Leaving the body to fight this chronic infection while carrying the baby.

  2. Tooth Decay: Frequent snacking or craving sugary foods combined with altered saliva consistency leading to an increased risk of cavities. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and affect proper nutrition during pregnancy.

  3. Pregnancy Tumors: While often non-cancerous, these swollen red lumps in the mouth can appear during pregnancy due to exaggerated responses to plaque. They usually disappear after childbirth but may require professional intervention in severe cases.

  4. Early term birth: some studies suggest that mothers with gum disease are at increased risk for pregnancies resulting in early term birth and low birth weight. 

 

Prevention and Management:

  1. Maintaining Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash are crucial for keeping teeth and gums healthy. Pregnant women should aim for brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Sometimes the toothpaste you always use may cause gagging or nausea. Try switching to a mild mint flavored toothpaste to ease discomfort.

  2. Regular Dental Check-ups: Scheduling regular dental visits during pregnancy is essential. Inform your dentist about your pregnancy and ensure routine cleanings, exams, and any necessary treatments are conducted in a safe and appropriate manner. Routine dental care is encouraged and is safe to have completed at all stages of pregnancy.

  3. Balanced Diet: Opt for a nutritious diet that includes calcium-rich foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and plenty of water. Minimize the consumption of sugary snacks and beverages to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

  4. Morning Sickness Management: Rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash after experiencing morning sickness to remove acid from the mouth. Avoid brushing immediately after vomiting, as tooth enamel might be softened by stomach acid and brushing can further damage it. Switching toothpastes may also eliminate triggers of morning sickness.

  5. Awareness: It is important for all expecting mothers and those looking to grow their family to prioritize their oral health. With this awareness you are more likely to maintain routine visits and treatment. Keep in mind that poor oral health can make getting pregnant more difficult, may put your pregnancy at risk and after the baby is born your oral bacteria is transmissible to your baby. Your oral health is foundational to you and your baby.

  6. Stay hydrated: In addition to all the additional health benefits, drinking plenty of water can help wash away food particles and prevent dry mouth, a condition that can increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

  7. Consider dental treatments during the second trimester: If necessary, dental treatments like fillings, root canals, or extractions are often safer to perform during the second trimester when the risk to the developing baby is minimal. However, always consult with your dentist and obstetrician for guidance based on your specific situation.

Conclusion:

Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is not only beneficial for the mother’s overall well-being but also vital for the baby’s healthy development. By understanding the link between dental disease and pregnancy, expectant mothers can take proactive measures to prevent oral health complications. Consistent oral hygiene practices, regular dental visits, and a healthy diet all contribute to a healthy smile and a positive pregnancy experience for mom and baby. Remember, a healthy mouth leads to a healthy pregnancy!

Semidey Dental is a family owned private dental practice proudly serving the the Davie, Cooper City, Plantation, Ft. Lauderdale and Weston communities. We extend our invitation to serve all surrounding communities looking for a new dental home.  We love working with expecting mothers and providing answers to questions like ‘what causes bleeding gums during pregnancy’ and ‘how do I stop bleeding gums during pregnancy’. So if you’ve seen pink in the sink, after brushing or flossing or simply want to learn more about gum disease, we’re here to help! Give us a call at (954) 581-0120.

Better health for all moms and their little ones!

Dr. Sara

1 in 20

Will develop a benign pregnancy tumor in the gums. They are often painful and bleed easily.

27%

Higher risk of preeclampsia with periodontal disease

40%

Of women will experience pregnancy gingivitis.

The #1 Rated Dental Team in Davie and Cooper City

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(954) 581-0120

4800 SW 64th Ave Suite 101

Davie, FL 33314

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smiles@semideydental.com