Your ankles are swollen.
Sleeping is miserable.
You are hot.
You are cold.
You want naps ALL the time.
And don’t forget about. . . wait a minute, what were we talking about?
Right. . . being pregnant.
Pregnancy is an exciting time. It is also exhausting, uncomfortable, and sometimes a little anxious. It seems that every part of your body is affected by that little bundle of joy growing inside of you. And that isn’t far from the truth. The capacity our bodies have to create and nurture a life is remarkable and causes shifts and changes from head to toe, which includes your mouth. Here are some things to expect when you are expecting:
This one won’t surprise anyone, but the nausea of pregnancy can affect your teeth. Sometimes the act of brushing or flossing might trigger the gag reflex and kill any desire to do those things. We know it might be a challenge, but stick to those habits–even if you can’t do it for long. Your teeth and gums are a bit more vulnerable while you are pregnant, so those basics become even more important.
Isn’t this fun?? Your belly and ankles aren’t the only things that balloon with joy as the baby grows. Your body is pumping extra blood and sometimes holds on to extra fluids. This can affect your gums, making them tender. Also, the uptick of hormones can cause your gums to swell, increasing your risk for gingivitis. This can be painful and cause lasting damage to your teeth and mouth. Gingivitis signs include:
- Tenderness in the gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Bleeding, even when you brush gently
- Shiny gums (you want your face to glow, not your gums)
Pregnancy also pumps your body with a hormone called relaxin. This loosens up your joints to help everything get limber and ready for delivery. It also makes it easier for you to drop things. Other things loosen up as well, which is bad news for your teeth. Estrogen and progesterone can loosen up bones and tissues, which can make your teeth wobbly.
Are we having fun yet???
Remember, a beautiful little baby is waiting at the other end of this. It’s worth it. Stay with us.
Cavities, Don’t Pass Them On
Cavities are the most obvious dental enemy and, like everything in pregnancy, they get bigger. Well, at least the risk of them occurring gets bigger. This can happen because of a change in diet. If all you can stomach are saltines and gummy bears, then go for it. However, those can wreak havoc on your mouth, so you’ll need to be extra aware of brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Hormone changes can also create a cavity-growing environment. And if you are dealing with swollen or tender gums, then brushing might not happen as often, which can lead to cavities. Cavities are no fun, and getting them treated when pregnant is even less fun. But, the real problem with cavities is that there is a chance of passing on that disposition to the baby. Any bacteria in your mouth can get to the baby and pose risks during the birth process. Conversely, as you care for your teeth, you are giving the little guy a strong start to his chompers.
Grow a Baby, Not a Tumor
Pregnancy causes growth in all sorts of ways–your belly, your hips, your facial hair, and your gums. Sometimes painful red bumps can develop in your mouth, usually between the teeth. They are called pregnancy tumors, which is a very scary sounding word. They aren’t dangerous, but they can be painful. They are usually caused by plaque buildup and will fade away after the baby arrives.
Morning Sickness is Hard on the Mouth
Nausea is a normal part of pregnancy, but the severity of it varies widely between women and pregnancies. You might just feel an upset stomach for the first trimester, or you might be visiting the pregnancy throne of upchuck every blessed day of your pregnancy. For many, many reasons that would be a challenge. But, those trips are also hard on your teeth. Vomit is very acidic and can weaken tooth enamel. If you are throwing up regularly throughout your pregnancy, talk to your Weber County dentist about a toothpaste that can help rebuild that enamel and protect your teeth while your body does the amazing, hard work of growing an entire human. You are a superhero!
Speaking of the Dentist. . .
We are here to help you during this pregnancy journey. If you suspect you are pregnant, let us know on your next visit. We want to be aware of that and make sure you are safe. Regular dental care is not only safe during pregnancy, but it is advised. All the challenges we’ve discussed can be avoided or helped by regular dental care.
We take every precaution when doing X-rays to keep you and the little one safe. The x-rays generate very low levels of radiation, and we take extra care to cover everything up. The second trimester is probably the best time to schedule a routine dental check-up. This is the window of time where (hopefully) the nausea has abated enough so that the gag reflexes won’t be as strong, and you will be more comfortable in the chair than in the third trimester. And, if you get super comfortable in that chair and take a well-deserved nap, we won’t say a word.
You are earning it, Mama. We just want to help keep those teeth clean, healthy, strong, and ready to flash a beautiful smile at that precious new baby who is waiting at the other end of the pregnancy tunnel. You got this.