First off, congratulations on your newest incoming member of the family! Having a baby is a wondrous and momentous occasion, but there remains nine months of work to do first. During this time, your body will undergo many changes, some of which will have effects that extend to seemingly unrelated aspects of your health. This includes your oral cavity and your teeth!
Pregnancy causes several changes in your body in response to the needs of the baby and the demand it places on your body. For example, you’ll want to take extra care to ensure you’re taking in sufficient calcium and vitamin D to support both your own needs and the baby’s. A prenatal multi-vitamin can be very helpful in this respect. Another thing to keep in mind is the levels of several hormones related to pregnancy are altered. Hormone changes have drastic effects that spread across all areas of the body.
One of the effects from the changes in hormone levels is a softening of the sphincters that keep your food inside your stomach. Sphincters are rings of muscles that act as gatekeepers between different organs and prevents contents from entering someplace they shouldn’t. A weakened sphincter causes acidic stomach contents to potentially enter the esophagus and exit the body in a process that is none too pleasant to experience. Morning sickness, which can strike at any time during the day or night, can coat your teeth in strong acid, expediting the rate of tooth decay and putting you at risk of gum disease. While avoiding the triggers that make you sick can be a challenge, preventing tooth decay is easier. Rinse thoroughly with water to get rid of the acid on your teeth, then take a swish of fluoride-containing mouthwash. Avoid the temptation to brush your teeth immediately after vomiting, as the residual acid can actually do more harm than good. Neutralize the acid by drinking or swishing plenty of water and wait for at least an hour before brushing your teeth.
What Can I Do?
If you’re planning to get pregnant, you’ll want to have a strong battle plan for the best chance of avoiding adverse effects on your teeth. Ensure you’re brushing your teeth twice everyday with fluoridated toothpaste and floss often. We cannot encourage you more to visit your dentist during this critical time! They’ll be able to provide you with personalized advice and treatment in preparation for the changes that you’re about to undergo. If you have any tooth problems already, be sure to also have those addressed now, so they don’t worsen later on. If you’re already pregnant, let your dentist know as well! This can impact their decisions on giving you x-rays and allow them to take precautions to ensure the safety of both you and the baby.
Pregnancy affects each person differently! Although the effects of pregnancy are a common target of myths and old wives’ tales, they shouldn’t be shrouded in mystery. Come have your questions answered by booking an appointment with Centennial Smiles today! Feel free to reach us at 587-353-5060.