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How Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?

How Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health
By Lakeshore Dental Studio

Brushing your teeth twice a day is a no-brainer, but did you know pregnancy can throw a curveball at your oral health? The hormonal rollercoaster you experience during pregnancy can impact your gums and teeth in surprising ways. Let’s explore how pregnancy affects your oral health and why scheduling regular dental cleanings with your dentist is vital for both you and your growing baby.

Pregnancy and Gum Disease: A Risky Combination

The surge of progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy can make your gums more sensitive to plaque buildup, the sticky film that harbors bacteria. This increased sensitivity can lead to gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. Gingivitis causes your gums to become red, inflamed, and bleed easily, especially during brushing or flossing. While gingivitis itself isn’t harmful to your baby, if left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, a more serious gum infection that can damage the bone supporting your teeth.

How Periodontitis Affects Pregnancy Outcomes

Studies suggest a link between untreated gum disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as:

  • Preterm birth: Delivering your baby before 37 weeks.
  • Low birth weight: Your baby weighs less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces at birth.

Protecting Your Smile and Your Baby’s Health

Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is crucial for both you and your baby. Here’s how to create a winning dental hygiene routine:

  • Brushing: Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Flossing: Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth.
  • Dental Cleanings: Schedule regular dental cleanings with your dentist throughout your pregnancy. Cleanings help remove plaque buildup and prevent gingivitis from progressing to periodontitis. Your dentist can advise you on the safest cleaning schedule for each trimester.
  • Healthy Diet: Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and calcium to support healthy teeth and gums. Limit sugary drinks and snacks that contribute to plaque buildup.

What to Expect During a Dental Cleaning While Pregnant

Dental cleanings are safe during pregnancy, and your Chicago dentist will take precautions to ensure your comfort. Here’s a general overview of what to expect:

  • Consultation: Your dentist will discuss your pregnancy and any concerns you may have.
  • X-rays: While typically avoided during pregnancy, X-rays may be necessary in certain situations. Your dentist will use a protective lead apron to minimize radiation exposure to your baby.
  • Cleaning: The cleaning process itself is similar to a routine cleaning, focusing on removing plaque and tartar buildup.

Open Communication is Key

Don’t hesitate to communicate openly with your trusted dentist in Chicago, IL about your pregnancy. Let them know about any changes in your oral health, such as increased gum sensitivity or morning sickness that makes brushing difficult. They can adjust your cleaning routine or offer alternative solutions to ensure optimal oral care throughout your pregnancy.

Taking care of your oral health during pregnancy is an investment in your well-being and your baby’s health. By maintaining a good oral hygiene routine and scheduling regular dental cleanings with your dentist, you can navigate this special time with a healthy smile and peace of mind.