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Your growing belly isn’t the only thing changing during pregnancy. In fact, many moms overlook some of these common postpartum dental problems that could be easily avoided with proper oral hygiene during pregnancy.
If you’re like me and absolutely hate going to the dentist (no offense to all the dentists out there), I don’t blame you.
Teeth can be sensitive and dental work can feel so…insensitive!
However, emotional feelings aside, that is no reason to avoid the dentist, especially while pregnant!
The content in this post is meant for informative and educational purposes only. Please contact your dentist if you’re concerned about your oral health.
Postpartum Dental Problems That Could Be Avoided While Pregnant
Believe it or not, dental health should be a part of every mom-to-be’s prenatal care plan.
With all those fluctuating hormones & body changes, it’s no surprise your oral health gets thrown into that mix too.
Below, you’ll find some common postpartum dental problems that can easily be avoided during pregnancy!
1) Postpartum Gingivitis
Approximately 60 to 75 percent of women develop gingivitis during their pregnancy.
Gingivitis is a reversible gum form of gum disease in which your gums become very red and inflamed.
During pregnancy, you can thank your every changing hormones for this, but with proper dental hygiene, it can be avoided.
If left untreated, it can progress to a more severe gum disease known as Periodontal Disease (mentioned below).
Wondering if you have gingivitis? Signs include:
- Gum sensitivity and tenderness
- Red and swollen gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Bad breathe
- Plaque built up along the gum line
- Loose teeth
Besides frequent dental care & visits, using a toothpaste specifically formulated to deep clean your gums (like this one) can help greatly!
2) Gum disease after pregnancy (Periodontal Disease)
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease due to untreated bacteria build-up that can affect both the gums and bone structure of your teeth.
When left untreated during pregnancy, periodontal disease can have an “increased risk of complications including low birth weight and preeclampsia” according to an article on Healthline.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Receding gum line
- Bright red, tender, sensitive gums
- Pain when chewing
- Thick plaque and tartar build-up on teeth
- Foul taste in your mouth
- Loose teeth or tooth loss
3) Tooth Decay or Cavities
Hello, pregnancy hormones — you better believe they make you more prone to getting cavities.
Without proper dental care, these can linger until after the baby is born as well.
This is why it’s pretty common for postpartum moms to have a cavity or two when they go to their first dental appointment after birth.
Emphasize flossing and brushing twice a day if possible. If brushing feels too harsh on your sensitive teeth, you could always look into a WaterPik Flosser.
These little “teeth power washers” as I like to call them work so well and really get into those tight spaces to wash out the bacteria.
4) Tooth Erosion
Tooth erosion is more likely to be seen if you’ve been battling lots of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy or postpartum.
Basically, your stomach acid weakens and breaks down your enamel until it started to erode.
If you’ve struggled with vomiting during pregnancy or after birth, don’t forget to brush your teeth ASAP to prevent damage happening to your enamel.
5) Loose Teeth
Between gingivitis and cavities, your hormones can also cause your teeth to loosen up a bit.
I remember one time a friend of mine was telling me how she was terrified her teeth were going to fall out after she gave birth because she noticed they felt loose to the touch.
After going to the dentist she learned she had gingivitis, but also that pregnancy and postpartum hormones can simply loosen up your teeth at times.
How to prevent having bad teeth after pregnancy and avoid these postpartum dental problems
The single BEST way to prevent postpartum dental problems is to prevent them during pregnancy.
Maintaining proper dental hygiene while pregnant is vital, but if you didn’t take the best care of your teeth, you can still take steps to make them better.
- Don’t skip your dental appointments while pregnant.
- Schedule at least one postpartum dental appointment 1-2 months after birth (or sooner if having dental problems).
- Floss and brush your teeth & gums a minimum of twice daily.
- Limit late night snacks (after brushing).
- Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet throughout pregnancy and postpartum (here’s a great guide to help you maintain a healthy & balanced diet starting while pregnant).
If going to the dentist during pregnancy sounds worrisome, here are a few facts that might help put your worries at ease so you can put a critical emphasis on your oral hygiene.
Are dental X-rays safe during pregnancy?
According to March of Dimes (a health advocating site for Moms & Babies), dental x-rays are very much safe!
This is because of how little radiation is emitted to take a dental radiograph.
However, like any x-rays, you should make sure to disclose your pregnancy to your dental team so they can use proper shields to make sure you and your baby are best protected from ANY kind of radiation.
Can I get my teeth cleaned while pregnant?
Yes, you most definitely can get your teeth cleaned while pregnant and it’s highly encouraged!
Make sure to involve both your dentist and doctor so that together, you make the best prenatal care plan that includes dental hygiene during and after pregnancy.
If you’re struggling with postpartum dental problems due to a lack of care throughout pregnancy, don’t worry.
It’s not too late to develop a solid plan with your dentist to get those teeth and gums sparkly clean & pain-free!
Did you experience postpartum dental problems after pregnancy?
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