How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

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How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through various changes to ensure a baby has everything it needs for proper development. However, there are a plethora of health risks mothers may experience that can ultimately affect the health of their baby if left untreated. Some mothers may experience oral health issues as a result of natural bodily changes. For example:

  • Exhaustion – during pregnancy, a woman’s body overworks itself as it prepares for the development of a baby, which results in extreme exhaustion. Exhaustion can become so severe that mothers fail to maintain their oral health homecare regimens, which include brushing twice daily and flossing at least once daily. If this happens consistently over time, plaque and bacteria will build-up and cause tooth decay.
  • Hormonal changes – During pregnancy, women experience vast hormonal changes as their body produces hormones for the baby. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to pregnancy gingivitis, which includes irritated and inflamed gums. If left untreated, pregnancy gingivitis could lead to periodontitis, which eventually leads to bone loss. For those women who do experience pregnancy gingivitis, it’s usually during the third trimester.
  • Morning Sickness – morning sickness is a common symptom of pregnancy, which includes vomiting up stomach acid. Excessive vomiting weakens tooth enamel, which puts pregnant women at a greater risk of developing cavities and experiencing tooth erosion.
  • Snacking – many pregnant women begin having massive cravings for particular foods, which include sugary snacks and drinks. Frequent snacking exposes the teeth to constant acid, which increases acid-loving bacteria that weakens tooth enamel and leads to cavities and dental caries.
  • Chewy Vitamins – because pregnant women have to take prenatal vitamins, it’s important that they avoid chewy or gummy vitamins because most of them are composed of sugar, which is damaging to the teeth.

If a mother experiences some or all of the examples listed above, it’s possible that the excessive bacteria in her mouth will enter her bloodstream through her gums and travel to the uterus. Once this happens, chemicals known as prostaglandins can cause premature labor.

Another way a mother’s oral health can affect her baby is through vertical transmission, which is when excessive acid-loving bacteria passes from the mother’s mouth to the newborn’s.

San Diego Preventative Care Dentistry

At McBride Dental, we offer a number of preventative care services to help mothers maintain optimal How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Healthoral health. Our services include dental exams and deep cleanings, dental sealants, x-rays, and more. Our mission is to help protect the smile from cavities, periodontal disease, and any other oral health complication that could potentially be painful and expensive in the future. We also encourage mothers to do their best to maintain their oral health homecare regimen in between checkups. We advise to at least brush twice daily and floss once daily.

We understand that strong cravings occur during pregnancy, but we recommend eating healthy snacks, such as fruits and vegetables, to avoid growing superfluous acid-loving bacteria in the mouth. If you are in the San Diego area and are looking for a permanent dental office, call 760-471-1003 to schedule an appointment today.

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