Did you know the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can have an impact on your teeth, gums and mouth? This can be directly, such as changes in how your body responds to plaque, or indirectly – due to reflux and vomiting.
The following issues are not definitive, some women are more prone than others, and you can reduce your chances of developing dental problems during pregnancy, provided you already maintain good oral hygiene habits.
Common dental health problems
Increased hormone levels associated with pregnancy can result in a stronger response to the presence of plaque. This could potentially make chronic gum infections worse, and can increase susceptibility to gum problems.
Reflux and vomiting
The hormones related to pregnancy can cause the lower oesophageal sphincter (the ring of smooth muscle that controls the entry of food from the oesophagus into the stomach) to soften. This softening, in combination with the added pressure on the stomach from the growing baby, often results in repeated reflux. Reflux, and/or vomiting associated with morning sickness can damage tooth enamel, which increases the risk of decay due to the frequent contact with the highly acidic contents from the stomach.
Tooth brushing causing retching
For some pregnant women, the act of brushing their teeth, particularly the molars, can bring on a dry retching response. This can be difficult to manage, but it is important to maintain a regular brushing regime. A few options that can help to ease this trigger include:
- Using a toothbrush with a smaller head, such as those designed for young children
- Slowing down your brushing technique
- Focusing on your breathing while you brush, perhaps with your eyes closed
- Using other things to distract you, such as music or television
- Trying a different brand of toothpaste – the taste of certain toothpastes could be a trigger
While it can be difficult to manage all of the changes that you are experiencing during pregnancy, it is important to maintain your oral health as best you can. If you are pregnant – whether you have concerns related to your dental health or not – it is important to schedule a visit with your dentist. Not only to check the overall health of your mouth, but also for any helpful tips and information on caring for your teeth and gums with dental hygiene as well as dietary needs, throughout your pregnancy.
With proper dental hygiene at home and professional help, your teeth should remain healthy throughout your pregnancy. At Tindale Dental Centre we pride ourselves on providing comprehensive dental treatment during every stage of life. Call our experienced Penrith team today and book your appointment with one of our thorough and caring dentists. Our goal is to maintain your dental health for a lifetime. Contact us on (02) 4726 5400.