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Take Care of Your Teeth During Pregnancy

Alison Wood |29, April 2013


You knew about the weight gain, stretch marks and morning sickness during pregnancy, but no one told you about the changes in your teeth. You nearly gasped when you saw blood on your toothbrush!

Forming a new life inside your body effects you in more ways than one can imagine. Emotions, hormones and even your teeth and gums are all part of the change-up. Exactly what abnormalities can you expect with your teeth and gums? Here are the most common changes during pregnancy:

Pregnancy Gingivitis

It's not your eyes playing tricks on you; your gums are actually redder during pregnancy! You may even have bleeding gums and have blood in your toothbrush at each brushing.

Red, swollen gums and bleeding can begin as early as the second month of pregnancy. This condition is commonly called pregnancy gingivitis. It typically worsens around the eighth month of pregnancy. You will notice the changes of your teeth mostly in the front of your mouth.

What causes pregnancy gingivitis? Professionals speculate that increased hormones, namely progesterone, can encourage the growth of different bacteria that cause gingivitis. Sometimes your immune system is also to blame as it may be compromised and weakened during the baby bump days.

While this type of gingivitis cannot always be prevented, the symptoms can be kept at bay with the following helpful habits:

  • Brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time
  • Floss daily
  • Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse
  • Stay away from sticky candy and sweets
  • Cut back on soft drinks
  • Drink more water
  • Visit the dentist at least once during pregnancy for an evaluation and professional cleaning

Pregnancy Granuloma (Pyogenic Granuloma or Pregnancy Tumor)

That sounds scary to most pregnant moms, but don't worry! It's not an actual tumor and is definitely not cancerous. A pregnancy granuloma is simply a growth on the gums that occurs in 2 to 10% of pregnant women. It is also known as a pyogenic granuloma or pregnancy tumor. These growths are uncomfortable, but not serious. Look out for these in the second trimester of pregnancy. The growths often bleed easily and can form an ulcer.

The causes of these pesky growths have been linked to hormones, viruses, trauma, malformed blood vessels and poor oral hygiene. Women that have a serious case of pregnancy gingivitis typically have pregnancy tumors as well.
After your bambino enters this world, your growths should disappear quickly. Some women choose to have these removed before the baby is born due to major discomfort while speaking or eating.

Tooth Erosion

If you have experienced extreme morning sickness during your pregnancy, be extra careful about your oral hygiene. Frequent vomiting can harm the enamel on the back of your front teeth. Plan a visit to the dentist to evaluate your dental condition. One important note if you are vomiting frequently is to not brush immediately after you vomit. First, rinse with a mixture of baking soda and water, or a commercial rinse designed to reduce the acid level of your mouth. Then, follow with a detailed brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush. The acids left in your mouth from vomiting will remain in your mouth as you brush and cause more erosion if not rinsed out before brushing.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth tends to plague many pregnant women, especially during the spring and summer months. Labor and delivery also produces a dry mouth. To combat this condition, keep the fluids coming! Avoid sugary drinks, but load up on water. Sugarless candies and gums are also a welcome relief with dry mouth.

Excessive Saliva

On the opposite extreme, a few women will experience an overabundance of saliva in their mouth during pregnancy. This condition is typically short and sweet. It shows its head around the first few weeks of pregnancy and disappears at the end of the first trimester.

A healthy dental plan during pregnancy will keep you and your mouth happy. Here is a basic plan to keep your mouth in optimum health and condition.

  • Eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet with plenty of protein, calcium and vitamins A, C and D.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash
  • Visit the dentist during pregnancy, preferably the second trimester.
Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.

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