Pregnancy causes so many changes in the body, but one area we often don’t realize is affected is the mouth, teeth and gums.
The production of the hormones progesterone and estrogen increase greatly during pregnancy, which in turn boosts blood circulation in the body. This can lead to red, swollen gums that bleed easily. It’s not uncommon to see blood in the sink after flossing and brushing for this reason.
Because of the irritation that occurs in the gums during this time, pregnant women are at a higher risk for developing gum disease. Developing gum disease during pregnancy or having an ongoing case of periodontitis before that carries on into the pregnancy can actually have a negative effect on your baby, according to research. One study found that women who have gum disease while pregnant are four to seven times more likely to deliver prematurely than those with healthy gums.
Another oral side effect of pregnancy is granulomas, or growths, on the gum tissue. They are purple and benign. In most cases, it’s best to wait to see if these growths disappear after pregnancy before having them removed. Typically, the decrease of hormones that occurs after the baby is born is enough to make them go away on their own.
When it comes to caring for your teeth during pregnancy, the first step is to be hyper vigilant about your oral care routine. It’s more important than ever to keep your mouth healthy to avoid gum disease. If you experience morning sickness, be sure to rinse your mouth after any episodes of vomiting as the acidity can cause damage to the enamel on the teeth. It’s also important to see your dentist for a professional cleaning and exam. The best time to schedule this is during the second trimester. In some cases, a second professional cleaning is recommended later in the pregnancy just to be safe and decrease the risk of developing gum disease or any other complications.
To find out more about caring for your teeth during pregnancy or to schedule an appointment, call us today at 425-212-1975.