Hi, my name is Kaitlin and I’m a registered dental hygienist and I’m pregnant.
When you’re pregnant your body experiences a lot of changes and many of you may notice changes in your oral health. You may notice:
- Bleeding gums – I’ve experienced this!
- Soreness or general discomfort of gum tissue
- Some areas of inflammation may become larger bumps on the gums
And as we all know, you may be snacking more and craving sugar and carbs, which will impact your oral health.
Now let’s get into why pregnancy may impact your oral health:
When you are pregnant your body is going through hormonal changes and a lot of gum-related issues are related to these hormonal changes. An increase in oral bacteria while pregnant is called pregnancy gingivitis. You can easily take care of this by continuing with thorough, gentle home care. This will help to remove as much plaque and bacteria as possible to keep inflammation low. This should help your gums feel better and reduce the risk of larger pregnancy tumors. If you do get a pregnancy tumor, do not freak out, these will usually go down after delivery, but you should always stay in close touch with your dental providers about any concerns or if any growths do not subside. Often, many women choose to add in an additional preventative cleaning at their dentist to help manage pregnancy-related gingivitis.
Speaking of the dentist- do not avoid going to the dentist while pregnant! It is safe to see the dentist while pregnant, just let the clinical team know at the start of your visit. As a hygienist and a pregnant woman, I have made sure to see my dentist at least once during my pregnancy, especially when I started to experience some oral health changes.
I hate to mention it, but it’s also important to know that studies have shown that adverse pregnancy outcomes have been linked to periodontal disease, so if you do have a history of bone loss or are at risk with more advanced gum health concerns, make sure to check in with your dentist and manage as needed with appropriate therapies to help minimize the effects. This means it’s even more important that you see the dentist while pregnant!
Lastly, let’s talk about those pregnancy cravings!
Increased snacking or craving sugary foods or carbs can lead to a risk of cavities – especially if you’re not staying on top of your oral health. It is important to keep in mind good oral hygiene habits to balance any changes in diet – maybe add in a few extra brushings throughout the day. If it is determined that any dental work is needed during your pregnancy, make sure to discuss with your dentist the best next steps and timing. If it is determined to be important to treat the problem while pregnant, it is safe to use local anesthesia for numbing during dental procedures. However elective work may be deferred until after you have the baby.
The connection between general and oral health is always important, but especially so for expecting women. Make sure to communicate with your dental team when you are pregnant and throughout your pregnancy to ensure that you address any concerns that you might have and make sure to stay as healthy as you can for you and your baby.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our clinical team, we are always here to help. I know pregnancy is often a stressful time and we do not want your oral health to be an added stressor.