You just returned from the doctor who confirmed you are, indeed, expecting a baby. Glowing with happiness, you hear a ping go off on your desktop. It’s a reminder to keep a dental appointment next week. Now that you’re pregnant, do you still go?
The answer is yes! The American Dental Association recommends women continue to see their dentist during pregnancy. Make sure to tell the dentist you’re expecting and about any changes you notice in your oral health. The changing hormone levels that occur with pregnancy can actually make some dental problems worse.
Specifically, the Mayo Clinic cites:
- Tooth decay. During pregnancy, increased acidity in the mouth increases the risk of tooth decay. Vomiting during pregnancy can aggravate the problem by exposing the teeth to more gastric acid.
- Loose teeth. Increased levels of progesterone and estrogen can affect the ligaments and bones that support the teeth, causing teeth to loosen during pregnancy — even in the absence of gum disease.
- Gum disease. The hormonal changes of pregnancy can lead to gingivitis, an inflammation of the superficial gum tissue. Left untreated, severe gum disease may be associated with preterm birth and low birth weight.
If you have morning sickness, Mayo recommends rinsing your mouth with a solution of baking soda and water after vomiting (mix one teaspoon baking soda in one cup water). And throughout pregnancy, you should continue to brush teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss regularly.
Here’s to nine months of pregnancy bliss and happy dental hygiene!