Have you ever heard someone say “my teeth fell apart when I was pregnant?” I hear this frequently in the office. Yes it may seem like it, but don’t start blaming your children yet for the demise of your teeth! Here’s a little info to get you through those precious yet trying nine months.
Hormones, hormones, hormones! They are the driving force behind pregnancy gingivitis. Even the most resilient gums will need extra care including additional brushing and flossing to counteract what the hormones can do the gums. During pregnancy you are more prone to swollen, red, bleeding gums because of the change in hormones; therefore it is even more important to remove the plaque from the area to not add to the irritation. Everyone reacts differently to the change in hormones. Sometimes just touching the gums during pregnancy can cause them to bleed. In extreme cases, even the pressure alone to the gums while smiling may cause bleeding. The good news is…..once the hormones return to normal after the pregnancy and any breast feeding, so will the gums return to normal. Hang in there, it will get better!
That being said, the teeth themselves do not start to break down due to these hormones. Only the gums are affected. Any increase in cavities after a pregnancy is due to change in oral habits. The symptoms of pregnancy like exhaustion and nausea can lead to a decrease in good oral hygiene and increase in snacking. You must work your way through this and continue brushing 2-3 times per day and flossing at least once a day. You may need to alter the timing of both so you are not too tired causing you to want to skip flossing in order to sleep.
Try flossing midday or right after dinner instead of waiting until bedtime. Try any brushing techniques you can to avoid gagging due to nausea in the morning. Find out what works for you, otherwise decrease in oral hygiene along with increase in snacking will definitely lead to increase in cavities! Don’t forget to keep the water flowing. This will not only keep your body hydrated but also help to wash off food from snacking and acid from nausea induced vomiting. Also, make sure to continue your regular cleaning and checkups during the pregnancy. Now is not the time to slack on any oral hygiene.
Don’t forget to skip all whitening products during this time. They may be harmful to your baby, so to play it safe wait until after birth to touch up that smile.
Congrats on your new little bundle of joy soon to arrive! Watch for future articles on how to care for your infant’s teeth. Please contact the office if you have any questions at all. Until next time…Keep on Smiling!