Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Mouth During Pregnancy

Pregnancy and its associated hormonal and bodily changes can alter your body's chemistry, which may affect your oral health. The good news is you and your dentist can successfully navigate these concerns. Follow these tips to maintain good oral health throughout your pregnancy.

Can You Go To the Dentist While Pregnant?

Notify your dentist and schedule an appointment for a checkup as soon as you know you're pregnant.

Dental x-rays are safe during any stage of pregnancy. If the dentist recommends routine x-rays, rest assured, they will place a lead apron over your abdomen for your and your developing baby's safety.

It's best to complete any cleanings or necessary treatments by the end of your second trimester as it can be more difficult to lie back on a dental chair for an extended period of time during the third trimester.

Managing Morning Sickness to Maintain Oral Health

If you have morning sickness, your teeth are exposed to stomach acids that can wear away tooth structure - avoid toothbrushing immediately after and instead rinse with a diluted solution of 1 cup water and 1 tsp baking soda to neutralize the acid.

How To Manage Dry Mouth During Pregnancy

Hormone changes during pregnancy can cause a decrease in saliva flow, which can cause an uncomfortable condition called dry mouth (xerostomia). Without enough saliva to wash away bits of food and debris, the chances of plaque buildup and cavities can increase which in turn can lead to gum disease and cavities.

Here's a few easy solutions to relieve pregnancy dry mouth:

  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water.
  • Suck on crushed ice or small ice cubes.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate saliva flow.
  • Run a humidifier in your room while you sleep to increase air moisture.
  • Maintain your regular oral health routine – brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day. It's more important than ever to practice good oral health habits when pregnant.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Limit snacking between meals and eating sugary foods.

How Does Pregnancy Affect My Oral Health?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it's important to see your dentist while pregnant so they can check for oral health concerns, such as:

  • Swollen, bleeding gums or gingivitis due to hormonal changes during pregnancy or insufficient at-home dental care. Some women report feeling nauseous while brushing and flossing. Expectant mothers may have tender gums that may discourage good dental habits.
  • Erosion of tooth enamel due to the increased acidity of stomach acid reaching the teeth due to morning sickness.
  • High hormone levels (progesterone and estrogen) can cause the tissues and bones surrounding your teeth to loosen, making your teeth loose.
  • Some expectant mothers may change their eating habits, including cravings for sweets or sugary foods, which can cause cavities.
  • Pregnancy tumors (pyogenic granulomas) can occur during the second trimester. A pregnancy tumor is a hemorrhagic swelling that can develop in the gum tissue. They are non-cancerous overgrowths that develop on the gums, between the teeth. They have a round, raspberry-like appearance and may interfere with chewing which can lead to secondary infections.

If you believe you may be experiencing any of these conditions, speak with your dentist.

If you plan to become pregnant soon, visit your dentist beforehand. Any treatments or procedures such as x-rays or teeth cleanings can be performed before you become an expectant mother.

Visiting your dentist is an essential part of prenatal care. Follow these tips and you'll be on your way to a healthy mouth throughout your pregnancy.

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This blog is designed to provide general information and discussions about health and dental-related subjects. No doctor/dentist to patient relationship is established by your use of this blog or website. We are not providing any treatment or diagnosis on this blog, and it is not intended to offer specific dental or medical advice to anyone. The information or other content provided in this blog is not a substitute for professional dental expertise or treatment. We will do our best to provide you with information that will help you make your own healthcare decisions, however no guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within this blog. If you have questions about any of the information presented on this blog, you should consult with your dentist. The dentists at Advantage Dental+ are licensed to practice in the states of Alabama, Florida, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas and this blog is not intended to solicit patients from other states. External links may be provided on this blog as a service and convenience to our patients and other visitors to our blog. These external sites are created and maintained by other public and private organizations, and we do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance or timeliness of any outside information.

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Gary Allen, DMD, Advantage Dental Group, P.C. | James Thommes, DDS, Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Massachusetts, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health And Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Oklahoma, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Texas, P.C. | Cory White, DMD, Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C. | John Clasen, OD, Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C. | Neil Williams, DMD, Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Florida, PA