Oral Health and Pregnancy — What Should You Expect?

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The hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can impact your oral health. Learn more about pregnancy-related dental concerns to help you keep your teeth in tip-top shape.

During pregnancy, the following dental conditions may occur:

Gingivitis — The American Dental Association (ADA) estimates that 60 to 75 percent of pregnant women develop what is known as “pregnancy gingivitis” due to increased blood flow and hormonal changes that make gums more sensitive to plaque on your teeth. If you have pregnancy gingivitis, your gums may bleed when you floss, and you may also notice gum tenderness or swelling.

Pregnancy tumors — Pregnancy tumors are small growths on your gums that generally appear between your teeth and may bleed easily. These “tumors” develop during the second trimester, according to the ADA, and typically go away once your baby is born. Pregnancy tumors develop in response to excess plaque on your teeth.

Tooth mobility — According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the ligaments and bones responsible for holding your teeth in place may loosen during pregnancy. The ACOG explains that this is a temporary condition that rarely causes any problems.

Tips for a Healthy Smile

While hormonal changes are a contributing factor, poor oral hygiene also contributes to pregnancy-related dental conditions. Brush your teeth twice daily, floss nightly and limit between-meal snacking. The American Pregnancy Association also recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush to limit gum irritation. Visit your dentist for regular cleanings, and speak with your obstetrician and dentist if you notice any concerning symptoms.

Eating for Two and Dental Health

Though occasional indulgence won’t harm your teeth, limiting foods high in sugar can protect against cavities and gingivitis. According to the ADA, a prenatal diet rich in protein, calcium, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C and D boosts the oral health of both mom and baby. Drink water or milk instead of sodas and juice, and consume 600 micrograms of folic acid daily.

As you approach the midpoint of your pregnancy, it’s time to start thinking about where you will deliver your little miracle. Having a baby is one of life’s most joyous experiences. Barstow Community Hospital makes it even more memorable with extra pampering and special touches such as a cozy recliner, private shower, Wi-Fi bedside Internet access, a congratulatory meal and a private birthing room (the only hospital in the High Desert that provides private rooms). To learn more about our birthing suites, visit BarstowHospital.com.

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