Being pregnant is a wild ride. Along with the typical symptoms of backache, morning sickness, and cravings, it can also throw up a whole host of bizarre symptoms. Some women experience nosebleeds; others suffer from heartburn or dizziness. One symptom that isn’t discussed is changes to your oral health. Yes, you read that right.
So, what happens?
- Hormonal changes
These changes — like the increased estrogen and progesterone levels — can actually increase your risk of developing some dental and oral health problems.
- Behavioural changes
You may experience a change in your eating habits. Some women get powerful cravings, whereas others can only choose from a small selection of food that doesn’t make them feel nauseous. It’s important to remember that what you eat affects the health of your teeth and gums.
And what problems can they cause?
Some women experience pain, swelling, and redness in their gums during pregnancy. The reason it occurs is due to hormone changes that can make women more susceptible to build ups of plaque. When plaque builds up like this, it can affect your gums and cause inflammation and bleeding.
To avoid this, carefully brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, twice a day. It would be best if you also flossed once a day — this will specifically target plaque build-ups and help keep your mouth healthy.
- Eroding enamel
One of the other side effects of pregnancy for many is morning sickness. Apart from being an unpleasant thing to experience, it can also damage the enamel of your teeth. As you vomit, stomach acid can erode your teeth.
To avoid this, swill your mouth out with water after each time you vomit. This will remove any stomach acid and help reduce the damage that it could do.
Pregnancy can increase the likelihood of you damaging the surface of your teeth and getting cavities. These small areas can cause pain and must be checked out by a dentist to stop them from getting worse.
So, what can you do to look after your dental hygiene?
- Keep up your regular dental appointments — they can help you learn more about what’s going on and will help to rectify any problems you’re having
- Visit the dentist if you do notice any changes or if you have any concerns
- Limit your intake of sugary food — if you’re hungry or craving sugar, try and stick to fresh fruits rather than sweet stuff
- Consider using an oral hygiene app to help you track your teeth
- Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, and floss once a day
- Eat as healthily as you can to give yourself and your baby a good level of nutrients that will support healthy development
- Try salt rinsing every day — this involves rinsing your mouth with a saltwater solution once a day to help aid your oral health
So, hopefully, you’ve found this guide helpful. Pregnancy can be an overwhelming time, but knowledge is power! So, enjoy the ride, and keep brushing your teeth.