Dental Health FAQs for Expectant Moms
Is there a connection between my diet during pregnancy and my oral health?
Just as for everyone, yes. Diet and oral health are linked. Your mouth is full of bone and tissue that needs nutrients just like the rest of your body to function properly. Taking in lots of water and healthy food is a key step to oral health. And avoiding things that are bad for your body, is a good habit for your smile, too.
Does a woman lose calcium from her teeth during pregnancy?
No. It is a myth that women lose calcium in their teeth due to pregnancy. However, pregnancy can lead to dental problems in some women, including gum disease and increased risk of tooth decay. During pregnancy, your increased hormones can worsen your body’s response to plaque (the layer of germs on your teeth).
Pregnancy does not automatically damage your teeth. The old wives’ tale that warns a woman to expect a lost tooth for every baby is false. Get plenty of calcium during pregnancy for your health and your baby's. During pregnancy, any calcium lost is quickly made up after breastfeeding is stopped. Adequate at-home dental hygiene regular dental checkups will help your teeth remain healthy throughout pregnancy.
What if I’m hungry between meals?
The rule of thumb for snacking is the same for pregnant moms as it is for anyone. Choose healthy foods and brush to remove food particles left behind after snacking. As for anyone, dentists find that all-day, constant snacking can increase your risk for tooth decay for two reasons. One, increased exposure to sugar and decay-causing food particles. Second, every time you eat, it changes the PH level in your saliva and introduces acidic elements that can increase tooth decay. Between meals, your body restores your saliva PH to neutral. Each time you eat, this changes. So reducing snacking helps reduce this acid level. This is true for pregnant women as it is for everyone.
What if I'm pregnant and need a dental radiograph examination?
Your dentist will help you weigh the risk of xray exposure versus the benefit that an xray could provide to diagnosing dental treatment needs. First Choice Dental is careful with xrays for all patients, but especially pregnant women. If we can avoid taking xrays during pregnancy, we certainly will. As with any patient, we don't take xrays unless the health benefit outweighs the health risks. And First Choice Dental uses digital xray technology, which has a lower risk than traditional film xrays. Ask your dentist for more information.
Does pregnancy affect my gums?
Absolutely. Your mouth is a very vascular area of your body. Women can experience increased incidence of periodontal disease during pregnancy. And gum disease has been shown to be related to a higher incidence of early births and low birthweight babies. Regular visits to your dentist are always important, but especially as part of a healthy pregnancy.
What are “pregnancy tumors”?
When you're pregnant, your body experiences hormonal changes that increase your risk for developing oral health problems like gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (gum disease), sometimes called "pregnancy tumors". As a result of hormones, about 50-70% of women will develop gingivitis sometime during their pregnancy -- a condition called "pregnancy gingivitis". The increased level of the hormone progesterone may make it more common for gingivitis-causing bacteria to grow, as well as make gum tissue sensitive to plaque and exaggerate the body's response to the toxins (poisons) that result from plaque. If you already have significant gum disease, being pregnant may make it worse. Regular dental visits are key for a healthy mom and baby.
What can I do to keep my mouth healthy during pregnancy?
Good nutrition. Good healthcare routines at home and regular visits to your dentist are essential. Brushing and flossing are always important, but especially during pregnancy when gum health is so critical to a healthy mom and baby. As for regular dental visits, some women think that they should hold off until after they have the baby. In fact, it's just the opposite. Dental checkups should be part of your prenatal care checklist.