Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it brings several changes to your body, including oral health. While maintaining regular visits with your dentist is crucial during this time, there are a few other steps you can take at home to counteract the adverse oral impacts. Consider the following changes you could see in your dental health during pregnancy and learn ways you can protect yourself during this pivotal time.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Dental Hygiene?
There are two main changes that occur to the body during pregnancy that can impact your oral health: the increased production of blood being circulated and an influx of hormones. When your body produces and pumps more blood, this can cause elevated sensitivity in the gums and soft tissues of the mouth. This additional blood can lead to swelling of the gums as well as bleeding when brushing or flossing.
Meanwhile, the amplified hormones may change the chemistry of the bacteria in your mouth, leaving you susceptible to accelerated plaque and decay development.
What Conditions Can You Develop During Pregnancy?
The most common oral health conditions that develop during pregnancy are gum disease and cavities. According to the CDC, 60% to 75% of pregnant women experience gingivitis, the early phase of gum disease.
Because you may notice more sensitivity in your gums when flossing or brushing, this can open up pockets along the teeth that enable bacteria to grow and multiply, leading to periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease. Because these bacteria live along the gumline, you may also notice a rapid development of plaque, which can cause cavities if not properly removed through teeth cleanings.
How Can You Prevent Problems?
Regular dental appointments are the first step in preventing pregnancy-related oral hygiene issues. Your dentist will examine your teeth, gums, and soft tissues to combat these problems before they become larger issues. Additionally, make sure to brush and floss two times a day—preferably after each meal.
Whether you’ve recently learned you’re expecting or simply need a dentist to care for your smile, consult the team at Dr. Robert N. Petrtyl, DDS, in Cincinnati, OH. With more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Petrtyl provides the vital dental health services your family needs, ranging from preventive and restorative treatments to cosmetic solutions. To learn more about pregnancy and your oral health, visit them online or call (513) 554-4657.