Ithaca NY Dentist Discuss Oral Health changes during pregnancy
During pregnancy, a woman can experience a lot of changes within the body. As hormonal activity becomes more and more dynamic, the body becomes more vulnerable to certain body conditions. In terms of oral health, changes within the gums and teeth due to pregnancy are common.
Hormonal-induced Pregnancy Changes and Conditions
Hormonal activity is at its most active during pregnancy. Changes triggered by hormonal fluctuations can lead to a number of oral health conditions. You may find this strange, especially if you’re an advocate of proper oral health habits. These conditions include the following:
- Gingivitis/Periodontal Disease- This is the most common of all pregnancy attributed oral health conditions; gingivitis or periodontal diseases are typically characterized by bleeding gums, severe swelling and redness. It is also known as “pregnancy gingivitis”; this condition occurs during the second through the eighth month (peak) of pregnancy. Progesterone levels can reach up to ten times over the normal. Gingivitis-causing bacteria develop quicker in these stages as oral defenses get weaker and weaker.
- Loose Teeth- During pregnancy, high levels of estrogen and progesterone are produced by the body, affecting the bones and tissues that support and stabilize your teeth. The idea of loose teeth during pregnancy backs the old wife’s tale that a tooth is lost for every child you bear. It is actually a hormonal-induced phenomenon.
When a woman is pregnant, she is feeding for her own health as well as of the baby she is carrying. Calcium is the main component of the teeth and bones. Therefore, calcium from these areas are deposited to the baby. If you don’t consume a lot of calcium, for yourself and the baby, the strength of your teeth will definitely be affected.
Morning sickness involves vomiting and nausea. This is a common occurrence within the first and 6th weeks of pregnancy. It presses oral health concerns as prolonged contact to stomach acids can weaken the tooth and eventually lead to tooth decay. The tooth enamel is vulnerable to the attacks of bacteria. Acid reflux or heartburn can produce the same effect with gastric acid.
Getting proper nutrition and practicing good dental habits are necessary to combat these changes. Indeed, certain sacrifices should be made but not at the expense of your oral health!