Dentists work with patients of all ages and at all different life stages, including pregnant women. In fact, pregnant women may need family dentistry services even more than they did before becoming pregnant.
Thanks to the numerous physical and hormonal changes pregnant women experience, their oral health can be affected in a few surprising ways. If you’re pregnant, you may have noticed some of the oral health effects listed below.
Increased Saliva Production
One of the most well-known effects of pregnancy is morning sickness. Many women experience nausea and vomiting, especially during the first three months of pregnancy. Fortunately, the body does have ways to protect itself.
Many women experience increased saliva production, particularly during that first trimester. The extra saliva rinses away stomach acid, protecting the teeth in case of severe nausea, vomiting, and acid reflux. However, you should still take extra measures to protect your teeth if you are experiencing morning sickness, including rinsing your mouth with water or alcohol-free mouthwash directly after vomiting.
Greater Risk of Cavities
Pregnant women may be at greater risk of developing cavities because of behavioral changes during pregnancy. Many women eat more frequently throughout the day to manage their morning sickness or adjust to a reduced stomach capacity, for example. The hormonal changes pregnant women experience can also change the amount and types of bacteria living in the mouth. Visiting your Kirkland family dentist can help you reduce your risk of developing new cavities and ensure you get prompt treatment for any cavities you already have.
Development of Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis is exceptionally common in pregnancy, with 60% to 75% of pregnant women developing it at some point, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This increased risk of gum disease can be attributed to an increase in blood supply and a weakened immune system.
While gingivitis itself can be resolved with simple family dentistry treatments, untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease. This condition has been associated with preterm birth and low birth rate, so you’ll want to visit your family dentistry professionals if you have any concerns about your gum health while pregnant.
Pregnant women need family dentistry services just as much, if not more, than other adults. Don’t skip your next visit to your Kirkland family dentist if you are planning to become pregnant. Instead, make sure you let them know about your condition so they can better help you protect your oral health. And if you’re pregnant and need a new family dentist, give us a call to schedule an appointment with us.