Dental Health and Pregnancy

General Dentist Visalia, CA

Being pregnant increases the odds of some women dealing with dental health issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. Pregnancy causes an increase in hormones that can affect how a person's body deals with the plaque that builds up on the surface of their teeth.

A pregnancy on its own does not damage teeth. It does, however, diminish the mother's calcium levels and that can have a negative effect on her teeth. That can be easily addressed by eating calcium-rich foods to ensure the mother has strong bones and teeth during and after pregnancy.

With the practice of proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, the mother's teeth can be healthy throughout the different stages of pregnancy.

How dental health affects a developing baby

There have been studies that indicate there is a link between pregnant women who have gum disease and premature births. Babies that are born early are more likely to deal with issues with their senses and may develop cerebral palsy.

Current estimates point towards about 18 out of every 100 premature births being caused by gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that is caused by plaque and bacteria making their way into the gums.

Keeping teeth healthy during pregnancy

As mentioned earlier, women who have good oral hygiene habits are less likely to deal with dental problems during pregnancy. Expecting mothers should:

  • Brush teeth twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Get regular dental checkups

Pregnant women should also inform their dentist of their pregnancy since it affects the type of care they get.

Causes of dental issues in pregnant women

The common culprits that put pregnant women at a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease include:

  • Issues with the gums
  • The vomiting associated with morning sickness
  • Cravings for sugar

The hormones that are secreted during pregnancy make women particularly vulnerable to gum issues like gingivitis, pregnancy epulis and periodontal disease. The gum issues associated with pregnancy are not caused by an increased presence of plaque, but rather, the poor response to it by the mother's body due to increased hormone levels.

Expecting mothers can protect their gums by doing little things like switching to a softer toothbrush and brushing after every meal. A toothpaste that contains fluoride should be used as it helps to remineralize teeth.

Women who develop dental issues during pregnancy should talk to their dentist about it after giving birth. While most gum issues go away on their own after childbirth, it is best to have a dentist monitoring the situation.

Vomiting exposes teeth to acids

Being pregnant softens the muscles that ensure food stays in the stomach. The hormones associated often lead to women feeling nauseated in the morning, and that usually leads to vomiting. The person's teeth are coated with acids afterward and that can cause tooth decay if the teeth are not properly cleaned afterward.

The bottom line

Want more tips about maintaining dental health during pregnancy? Talk to one of our dental health professionals today.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Visalia Care Dental, request an appointment in our Visalia dental office here: Or call us at (559) 975-1213.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: General Dentist.


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