Pregnancy brings an abundance of changes to a person’s body, including to one’s oral health. According to March of Dimes, oral health is also known as dental health and refers to the health of your gums, teeth, and the rest of your mouth.
Oral health is important to your overall health, especially during pregnancy as the risk of developing dental problems increases.
Dental complications can actually cause issues during pregnancy. For example, a connection has been found between gum disease and premature births, so properly taking care of your mouth is vital (per March of Dimes).
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that when pregnant women have a lot of bacteria in the mouth, it can travel to the gums through the bloodstream, possibly resulting in early labor. Additionally, new mothers can pass the bacteria to their little ones through vertical transmission. Therefore, proper oral hygiene is a vital part of ensuring a healthy pregnancy.
The effects of pregnancy on oral health
When it comes to changes in oral health during pregnancy, several factors come into play. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the most common oral disease in pregnancy is gingivitis, which causes gum inflammation.
Because hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, are rapidly changing, along with changes to the immune system, this essentially inflames your gums.
Pregnancy also affects oral health due to eating habits and morning sickness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. As the AAFP points out, many pregnant people have cravings, so more sugars may come into contact with the teeth. Vomiting can also erode the teeth.
There are several tips and tricks you can follow to ensure you maintain healthy oral hygiene during pregnancy, but it’s really quite simple. The American Dental Association recommends brushing thoroughly twice a day, flossing daily, and eating a balanced diet. You should also see your dentist regularly for clean-ups and check-ups.