Dental Care During Pregnancy

Your body will undergo some quite alarming changes during pregnancy. Popular culture and the internet only focuses on one of them; the change in weight and in a womans mass once a baby is growing inside of her. But mass and weight aren’t the only things to change once a woman is expecting. All of the hormones change, and hormones control more than just moods and hairiness. They control the texture of your skin, the brittleness of your bones, how much or how little you need to eat, pee, and how much you can feel things. Hormones are the go betweens between physical reactions in your body and the commands of the mind.

The oral cavity during pregnancy 

One of the most noticeable areas of change during pregnancy is inside the mouth. The health of the human oral cavity is very much dependant on what kind of bacteria live in it, and how well they are regulated. Hormones have a very important role to play in all of this, as they are responsible for releasing the right antitoxins in the right amounts, regulating the bacteria in the oral mucosa. When a bacterium strain is left to do its own thing, they breed out of control and destroy their habitat, your mouth.

The immune system is very strained during pregnancy, as it is now having to take care of two humans and not just one (the baby only gets their own immune system at the very end of pregnancy), leaving it less time and possibility to take care of the oral cavity, which is a sensitive area to begin with. This is why all patients who are expecting are considered at risk, and that pregnant women need to take especially good care of their mouths.    


The rise in the levels of bacteria in the mouth can and will most certainly cause the loss of tooth enamel, as the bacteria will create by products that are acidic and that will eventually strip the enamel from the teeth. These acids dissolve the minerals that bind fluoride and calcium to the tooth surface, and it just comes off. This will lead to cavities forming in the somewhat softer cementum, and these are the cavities and holes that we deal with in our day to day lives. During pregnancy, it is vital that you brush and use floss as well. Mouthwash may be a bad idea though, as the abrasive liquid may harm the already compromised mouth. 


The increase in bacteria almost always causes gum infections to occur, as the immune system cannot fight off the invading bacteria, and the already existing bacteria may proliferate out of control and take up residence in the soft tissues of the mouth. The quite common and much mysticized bleeding of the gums during pregnancy is a result of just such an infection, but swelling of the gums or recession of soft tissues is also common (the latter being accompanied by xerostomia or dryness of the mouth). These symptoms are nothing to fear, but they are bad for teeth and if left uncontrolled can cause tooth loss and more severe problems and can even complicate pregnancy. Make sure that you mention it to your dentist if your gums are bleeding or if you have swelling or recession of your gums.  


The smell and taste of the mouth during a bacterial infection is quite foul, and a bad taste in the mouth is usually responsible for patients seeking out their dentists. The saliva can also become more thick and stringy, and can change intexture. A bacterial infection can also cause recession of the gums and dry mouth, causing the saliva to disappear altogether. This sort of problem usually also comes with discoloration of the tongue or teeth, swelling of the gums and the usual package associated with periodontitis. Ask your dentist for a checkup if the consistency or amount of saliva in your mouth has changed during pregnancy. 

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