woman sitting on her bed, rubbing her pregnant belly and smilingIf you are pregnant, your oral health may be the last thing on your mind. However, many Alaska women experience an increase in dental problems during pregnancy. This article contains important information from your Anchorage dentist for expectant mothers and those planning to become pregnant.

The American Dental Association has found a positive correlation between gum disease and preterm deliveries and low birth weight. Please take these steps to maintain your oral health during pregnancy to avoid possible complications.

Get a Dental Cleaning Early in Your Pregnancy

In the past, some women were concerned about the potential risks of getting dental care during pregnancy. This led many women to avoid going to the dentist when they were pregnant. However, regular dental care while pregnant is recommended because it can help prevent pregnancy complications related to gum disease.

Alaska dentist Dr. Kendall Skinner recommends having a thorough dental cleaning midway through your pregnancy. Lying in a dental chair can be uncomfortable during the last trimester, so it’s best to get it done early. A professional cleaning performed by one of the skilled hygienists at Excellence In Dentistry and diligent brushing and flossing help prevent gum problems triggered by hormonal changes.

Let Us Know You Are Pregnant

If you receive dental treatment at Excellence In Dentistry during your pregnancy, be sure to inform Dr. Kendall Skinner that you are expecting. This will affect decisions about digital X-rays, pain relievers, antibiotics, and conscious sedation.

Rinse Your Mouth After Morning Sickness

If you experience morning sickness, you should rinse your mouth immediately with either water, mouthwash, or an alkaline solution, such as baking soda in water. Stomach acid attacks your tooth enamel, so it’s essential to get it off your teeth and neutralize it as soon as possible.

However, do not brush your teeth immediately after being sick. Weakened tooth enamel can wear away quickly, especially with toothpaste. Wait at least half an hour to let your teeth regain their strength before brushing.

Some women find that their toothpaste makes them nauseous. Try switching to a different brand with a milder flavor. If brushing your teeth triggers your gag reflex, try using relaxation or distraction techniques to help reduce your gag response. In many cases, an electric toothbrush can help you get a more thorough cleaning with less gagging. You can also try brushing only a little at a time, gradually increasing the amount you brush each time.

Brush More Frequently

Hormonal changes cause an increase in plaque production which can lead to decay. You will want to counter this by brushing your teeth more frequently and using a fluoride mouthwash.

Avoiding frequent snacking, especially of sweets, lessens your likelihood of developing cavities. However, we understand that you must respond to your body’s needs, which can be unpredictable. If you eat many small meals during the day, take care to brush after each time you eat.

Also, make sure you are brushing thoroughly. Get the front, back, and tops of all teeth. Be careful to clean the gum line. We understand that this can be hard if you experience a heightened gag reflex during pregnancy. Do your best and try to do a little more each time.

Common Dental Complications of Pregnancy

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make some conditions nearly inevitable for some people. Experiencing these isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm. However, you should pay attention to them and report them to your dentist if they get worse:

  • Loose teeth
  • Swollen and tender gums
  • Bumps on the gums

closeup of an expectant mother holding her belly while resting on the couchHigh levels of progesterone and estrogen can impact the tissues that secure your teeth in your gums. The result is teeth that are looser than usual. This can be alarming, but it’s a relatively minor looseness in most cases and won’t put your teeth at risk. However, keep an eye on it.

Swollen and tender gums are symptoms of gum diseas which can also make it hard for you to brush your teeth. These are signs of gingivitis, a mild form of reversible gum disease. About three-quarters of women experience gingivitis during pregnancy.

Rarely, you may experience the growth of noncancerous tumors on your gums called pyogenic granuloma. These bumps, which most often occur between your teeth, can be sensitive and easily bleed. You may be able to combat them with good oral hygiene, and if not, they usually go away after you give birth.

Schedule Dental Care in Anchorage

If you are currently pregnant and have sore, swollen, or bleeding gums, schedule an appointment with Anchorage dentist Dr. Kendall Skinner by calling (907) 349-0022 today.

At Excellence In Dentistry, we take special care of our expecting clients.