Expecting mothers often have many changes to handle during their pregnancies, but dental issues are one of the most commonly ignored issues that women face when preparing for their newborn’s delivery date. The hormonal changes that impact their mood, hunger, and sleep are just a few of the many adversities that women face, but dental health has more of a vital impact on pregnancies than previously recognized. When not checked up on, oral health can bring about serious complications later on in the last trimester. But what’s the connection between pregnancies and oral health? Here’s what the research states about this link.
The Connection Between Dental Health and Pregnancies
Studies into this connection, including ones found in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research, have shown that women’s oral health and pregnancies require serious considerations, as the physiological changes that happen during pregnancy greatly impact women’s gums and teeth. Because of the increase in the hormones progesterone and estrogen, those hormones increase the amount of blood flow, causing the vessels to expand and affect the gums. Gingivitis is often the first condition that affects women during pregnancy due to this influx of hormones, among others such as:
- Enamel Erosion: Nausea and vomiting often cause the acidity levels to rise in the mouth. While morning sickness can be particularly troublesome, the acid levels can leave the teeth more vulnerable to enamel erosion, which can lead to cavities.
- Dental Cavities: Cavities that result from erosion, changes in diet, and lack of poor hygiene.
- Tooth Loss: When the gums become sensitive and the teeth begin to wear down at the enamel to form cavities, tooth loss can also happen as the gums become separated from the tooth and the development of plaque continues to form.
How to Protect Your Oral Health During Pregnancy
As dentists, we highly recommend taking annual routines to your dentist for regular, consistent checkups during your pregnancy. We highly recommend these visits during the first few months and last few months of pregnancy to help prevent the development of oral conditions such as periodontal disease, cavities, and tooth loss. At your dental checkups, x-rays and periodontal therapy can be performed and help reduce the risks of an emergency situation such as preeclampsia and preterm birth to protect both you and your newborn from infections and disease.